Ox Tail Stew

Cow Tail Stew, really, but that doesn't have the same ring to it, does it? We get a quarter side of beef every spring from my nephew, and this year's Pile O'Meat included a tail (everyone in my Beef Co-Op ends up with "parts" - heart, tongue, liver - most of which never gets used). It was even labeled "Ox Tail."

There are lots of recipes out there for this stew, with varying levels of complexity and ingredients. I whittled the choices down to one that looked fairly straightforward at Simply Recipes (http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/oxtail_stew/).

Don't let the "Simple" part of the title deceive you. This was a lot of work for a stew, IMO, and made me wonder how different it was going to be from, say, Beef Burgundy, which you can brew up in a couple of hours.

Well, there were two main differences: the meat, and the grease.

Tails, in case you were wondering, are very muscle-y and fatty animal parts. So, after searing the tail chunks, they need to simmer for 3 hours or so, and even then they are not going to be falling-off-the-bone tender. But my main complaint is the fat. Even after running the broth through a separator, this dish tips just over the edge from richness to greasiness. An overnight in the fridge may solve some of this issue, when I will be able to remove additional fat from the top. I hope.

Here is the recipe I used, with my adjustments:

One "ox" tail, chunked
2 TBS olive oil
Salt and pepper 
1/2 cup onion chopped
One celery stalk chopped
1/2 carrots chopped
3 whole cloves garlic
2 cups shiraz
2 cups beef broth
One bay leaf
Pinch thyme

2 TBS olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 cups purple potatoes, chopped (hey, it's what I had!)
One cup baby carrots
Three leeks, chopped
1/2 onion chopped
1/2 cup corn (no parsnips at Busch's today, needed another starch to offset the grease)

3 TBS flour

Sprinkle salt and pepper on the tail chunks and in dutch oven or large pot, sear in olive oil. Remove from pot and set aside. Saute chopped onion, carrots and celery in pot. Add garlic, bay leaf, thyme, broth and wine. Add tail chunks. Bring to boil, lower heat, cover and simmer 3-4 hours.

Heat oven to 350. In baking dish, mix potatoes, carrots, leeks, onion and corn with olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast veggies 45 minutes or so. Remove and set aside.

Remove tails from broth, set aside. Run broth through strainer to remove veggie chunks. Run broth through fat separator. Mix 3 TBS flour with broth and return to pot.  Add roasted veggies. I chose to remove meat from bones before returning to the pot.

Simmer until broth has thickened and flavors combined, about 30-40 minutes.