Gloria Spittel prepares a meaty treat
Oxtail is a cut of meat, which isn’t usually considered a cut of meat; it’s thick at one end and rather narrow at the other with bone running through the entire length. In fact, when cut at the joints, each segment consists of vertebrae surrounded by marbles of meat and fat.
It’s ideal for soups and stews because the cut lends itself to the benefits of slow cooking. This cooking process yields a rich and flavourful broth with pieces of tender meat.
While slow cooking is the conventional method to tease out the flavours of this special cut of meat, pressure-cooking can do the same and save on the time component. Whatever dish you prepare, you’ll need to either slow or pressure-cook the oxtail.
Twice cooked oxtail can be paired with sambol hijau, which is a green chilli sambol.
TWICE COOKED OXTAIL
OXTAIL Select the oxtail segments that are the largest and have the most meat. Save the smaller ends of the tail for a soup. Wash and dry the tail, and marinate it with salt.
You can use a slow or-pressure cooker, or even a regular pan. But if you opt for the latter, the oxtail will need to cook (covered) on a low fire for a couple of hours.
Heat some coconut oil in the pressure-cooker (or cooker of choice). Then add the spices and sauté until they’re fragrant. Add the oxtail and carefully sear the segments until they’re slightly browned on both sides.
Add the water, salt, pepper and vinegar. Follow the instructions provided with the slow or pressure-cooker. In a trial of this recipe, the pressure-cooker instructions called for the use of 1½ cups of water.
Once the water and other ingredients are added, close the pressure or slow cooker and cook following the instructions on time for these utensils. Usually, it’s about 45 minutes if you’re using a pressure-cooker once the whistles begin, averaging two or three whistles a minute.
Carefully remove the cooked oxtail and reserve any stock, which can be used to cook rice or saved for a soup. The meat should be soft and falling off the bone.
If there’s no stock and the rendered fat is at the bottom of the pressure or slow cooker, fry the oxtail in it (uncovered); or heat some oil in a frying pan and fry both sides of the cooked oxtail until some areas appear crispy.
Serve it hot with rice and a layer of sambol on top. Accompaniments can include broth or sautéed vegetables. SAMBOL HIJAU Steam the green chillies, red onions, garlic, lemongrass, green tomatoes, and kaffir lime leaves. After a quick grind in a blender or with a mortar and pestle, add some oil in a pan and sauté the mixture until it’s reduced. Add salt and sugar to taste.