Family Traditions: Easy Oxtail Stew

By Andrea Pavee

Last week as I was out doing the groceries, I decided on impulse (not always a good thing), to get a few trays of oxtail to make the stew which has been, for generations, our family’s ultimate comfort food.

With everything rising from global stagflation, this could be an option for a festive meal….Christmas is coming!

The recipe is super simple, and works best with a crock pot because once you put everything in, the pot takes care of everything you need to do. All you need to do is to taste, and then tuck in.

Oxtail stews go well with rice, a nice warm chunk of crusty, or sourdough bread, and even pasta.

To upgrade your meal for festive occasions, serve the stew atop a plate of steaming hot buttered rice.

As the stew is so versatile, leftovers can be shredded and transformed into a rich filling for pot pies, hot pockets or wraps.

To make your stew, you will need:

A few trays of oxtail, enough for the family, and to fill your crock pot:

1 big yellow onion

A head of garlic

Potatoes & Carrots to fill the pot

1 can each of condensed oxtail and tomato soup

Chicken stock, to taste

Salt, to taste

Black pepper, liberally

Clean the meat and place in the pot.

Quarter the onion and put the quarters into the pot along with the head of garlic. For the garlic, I just remove the flakier bits of skin, and then throw it into the pot.

Quarter the potatoes, cut the carrots into thick chunks and into the pot they go!

Size does matter in crock pot cooking.

I find that leaving root vegetables to simmer with the meat throughout the whole cooking process enriches the finished stew. The whole process easily takes 3-4 hours so thick cut vegetables do stand the test of time.

Pour over the condensed soups, then add water till about an inch from the top of the pot. It is best not to fill the pot to the top as when the stew cooks, it will bubble over and create a terrible mess, everywhere.

Seasoning should be done in layers, with the first layer as you start cooking. Taste, and season, if necessary, once the stew is done. I find that the addition of chicken stock lends a delightful balance to the stew.

Oxtail contains a lot of fat, which will rise to the surface once the stew is ready. Scoop up the excess oil and discard before serving.

You are done when the meat is almost ready to fall off the bones.


Note from the Editor:

A big thank you to Andrea for this recipe. Oxtail stew is comfort food. I have had a challenging time over the past weeks. I am not sure if I can call it a roller coaster few weeks, but having friends journey with me has been a great source of comfort.

Life is a journey and an adventure. One of the craziest things I ever did was to go on a roller coaster ride at Legoland. I did it thinking that my friends wanted to go on the ride and that they needed company. I regretted it the minute I stepped into the roller coaster. I have always been afraid of height and speed and everything scary! After the ride I discovered that my friends were equally afraid. They went on the ride because they thought I liked roaster coaster rides. We had a good laugh over a shared scary experience.

Andrea has been keeping in touch and asking if I needed anything. I told her that an article for this blog would be good, and she didn’t let me down.

My cousin Siri cheered me up with some gifts, including a book with traditional Greek recipes in Greek (with English translation). I have to tell my friend Rina, who gave me some Greek classes many years ago, that I actually have a cookbook in Greek.

I haven’t been to any Greek restaurants in Singapore, but I have been to a few Turkish restaurants. My idea of a healthy Turkish meal is: Kebabs, salad with feta cheese and Turkish bread with hummus. The Turkish meal below is home-cooked by Carmen (the bread was bought).

Have a good weekend and a great week ahead, and may you always have family and friends who will go the extra mile for you.

Chayo, HomSkil Editor 1, 19 November 2022

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