Oxtail stew is a great treat on a chilly evening -- even if the temperature's in the high 40's. Those of us who have gone soft in SoCal deserve the occasional winter indulgence. Preparation is fussy but well worth the effort.
First, you have to FIND oxtails in your market and be willing to pay close to $5 per pound. Then, marinate the meat in a mixture of oyster sauce, soy sauce, and vodka or gin (sherry or wine will DO in a pinch). Brown, deglaze the pan with beef broth (preferably home made), and simmer overnight in the crockpot with onions, carrots, & herbs (bay leaves & oregano).
Next morning, strain the mixture, and refrigerate the broth so's to defat it thoroughly. Note that the broth will have jelled by dinnertime, so that scraping off the fat will be a cinch . Then cut up your fresh potatoes, carrots, onions, and celery along with fresh or dried herbs (oregano, thyme, parsley), and cook quickly in the broth (microwaving is fine for this step) whilst removing meat from bones.
When the veggies are almost done, throw in the boneless meat and heat to boiling. Check veggies for doneness and serve immediately OR simmer until ready to eat. Cornbread or sourdough would be a welcome accompaniment Garlic toast would be fabulous, but simple saltines are good enough.
This recipe has the virtue of combining slow-cooked meat with quick-cooked veggies in a rich, transcendent broth. Any leftovers will be welcomed as soup with the addition of a can of diced tomatoes and some rice or pasta.
My recipe, without so much commentary, is available on recipezaar.