Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Oxtail stew

Digging around in the freezer the other day, I came up with a package of oxtail.  We aren't hard up for meat around here, so I tend to cruise right over oxtail, cow tongue, liver, and other such "variety meats", as the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook calls them.  I made a mental note to use that oxtail as soon as we finished off whatever leftovers were in the refrigerator.  Oxtail stew is really good.

This morning I retrieved the package, then put it in the microwave and punched the "thaw" setting for two pounds.  I removed the thawed package of oxtails, opened it up, and thought, "This looks like it's from a bigger cow than we've butchered lately."  I went to the trash and pulled the butcher wrap out to check the date it had been butchered:  Would you believe 2011?  I thought about my options.  I could assume it was too old and throw it away, but I knew it wouldn't hurt us to eat it.  However, I wanted it to taste good.  Pork and chicken develop an off-taste and odor when cooked, if it's spent years in the deep freeze.  It won't hurt you, but it's not fun to eat funny-smelling or tasting meat.

Since I don't think I've ever used beef quite this old, I decided to just give it a try; I told Cliff my plan, which was to go ahead and cook the meat in the Instant Pot for an hour, let it release the pressure naturally, and then taste-test it myself.  He looked a little doubtful.  But folks, there's no better flavored beef that oxtail that's been well cooked and I was primed for oxtail stew.    

I couldn't find directions for oxtail in a stove-top pressure cooker, which would have gotten it cooked faster; so I got out the Instant Pot and set it to pressure-cook for an hour.  When the pressure was down, I took off the lid and tasted it, and it was as good a flavor as any beef I've every had.  I gave Cliff a taste; he agreed.  It was still a little chewy though, so I gave it another fifteen minutes pressure and got perfection.  I added potatoes, carrots, a little celery, an onion, some quick barley, then got a pint baggie of cooked black beans out of the freezer and added that.  I can't wait to eat!

I didn't intend to go three days without blogging, but I've been just a little "off" and couldn't make myself do a blog entry.  I think I'm back now.  I felt perky enough that Cliff and I went on a walk in the pasture with Gabe.  If you want to see a picture of pure energy and joy, you need to see Gabe when he can run free for a change.  He circles all over the place at top speed, never getting too far out of our sights.  It's quite rewarding.  I wanted to get a picture of him running with autumn leaves in the background, but he runs so fast he blurs, in a picture.  Cliff laughed when I told him I was going to try and get Gabe to sit for a picture, but the poor dog did his best considering he was at a distance from me when I gave him the command.  It didn't turn out as well as I planned though... here's what I got:


Even sitting, he can't hold still.  Oh, and most of the pretty leaves are up higher, not even in the shot.  Oh well, I tried.  

I pay dearly for the times I let him run free in the pasture.  He comes back with stickers and stick-tights (otherwise known as beggar-lice) in his beard and on his legs and belly.  By the time I'm done, there are a lot of them stuck to my clothes too.  The process of combing all that mess out of the tangles isn't comfortable for him, so he puts up a bit of a fight, but we get it done.  Then there's always the issue of dirty dog feet I must clean.  But it's worth it to see him running wild and free, so happy to be doing what he loves.  

I love my dog.

Yours truly, Donna


  1. Oxtail stew sounds wonderful, Donna! I'm glad it worked out for you folks to have it. Lovingly, Andrea xoxo

  2. Dear Donna, I have to be honest. I turned my nose when I read oxtail stew. The problem is me. I’ve never had it and if I did at Grandma Howard’s I don’t remember the taste. How does it taste and how is the texture? The weather has been lovely for a walk. I’m glad you enjoyed yourself. Gabs

  3. glad the stew turned out well. sounds liberating to let gabe run free.

  4. Gabrielle, it tastes like beef roast, only we think the taste even little better. The texture is great as long as it's cooked long enough. pretty much the same texture as any tender beef.

  5. I've never seen oxtail for sale, but I have gotten soup bones before. They do make good soup. I've seen more and more recipes online using an instapot and may have to look into getting one. Glad you had a great walk. Dogs and kids are just full of energy!

  6. Thank you Donna, I’m going to have to try it. I’ll need to find it in the store first. 😊 Gabs

  7. He is very handsome. I have never had oxtail soup. Sounds interesting.

  8. Mmmm! Oxtails sound so delicious for this cool weather we are having. I like to do braised oxtails cooked in broth with onions, mushrooms added after they've been cooking a while, with baked potatoes. I cook the oxtails for a very long time in the oven. My kids used to like them, but I called them beef rounds and made sure to tear the label saying oxtails off of the package, because I knew my kids would never in a million years eat anything labeled as ox tails. I haven't made them in more than a year because they are a bit expensive around here. Now you've got me hungry for them.

    Cute pictures of your dog. We have a Pomeranian and the couple of times he managed to get into those stick tights it was a nightmare to get them out.

  9. Even though I've never had oxtail stew, I'll admit that it sounds tempting. But where the heck am I going to get an ox???

    I once had a turkey in the freezer for four years and was very hesitant to cook it. I finally got the courage to thaw it and put it in the oven. It turned out to be surprisingly good - - not exactly as good as a fresh turkey, but very edible nevertheless.


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