Saturday, March 3, 2012

Foods To Eat Before You Die: #68 Oxtail Soup

The term Oxtail Soup is a misnomer, as it is neither a soup, nor does it have to be made with oxtail. It IS, however, made with the tail of any cow. While the thought of eating a tail will gross out many, the way I saw it, the tail segments were like little steaks. Living in an agricultural state, I am always surprise when people refuse to try foods that are being harvested or grown right around the corner from them. When I was getting married, I had a difficult time finding polenta. How crazy is it that you can't find ground up corn in Iowa? Oxtail soup is another such meal that is popular in many areas in the world, but the US is not really one of them. At the grocery store, there was a single (and empty) spot for it in the meat section. As it turns out, they had just gotten a shipment (of four packages) that day.

Because the tail is a sinewy and tough muscle, it is generally slow cooked into a stew for hours.

This dish starts with a chopped carrots, onions and garlic.

The oxtails are added and braised until they are browned on all sides.

Next, tomatoes are added and the dish is covered and left to stew for four to five hours.

By then end of this time, the meat is tender and should be easily pulled off the bone.

Next, the meat is traditionally served over rice or noodles. The whole family agreed that the dish was good. But Leigha and I also agreed that the meat had a taste that seemed slightly off. It wasn't bad, but a little odd. I personally felt that the meat was not flavorful to stand up as the centerpiece for a meal. I felt that the meat would have been better inside a burrito or some such dish that relied on a group of flavors combined together into a larger whole.

While I thought that this dish was good, I probably won't make it again. And that is purely because it was too much work to end up with a passable meal. I am starting to feel like I'm getting the whole body of the cow covered with my dishes, though.

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