Hold on Spring, Winter isn't through just yet and if your tired of the same old stew recipes, then here's one that will brighten up your menu. The flavors of the Southwest are bold and bright. Traditional stews such as menudo and posole are timeless preparations. If the flavors of oregano, onion, garlic and lime sound delicious, then read on to prepare this delicious stew in your own humble abode.
Oxtails! For this particular recipe, I had the amazing opportunity to collaborate with a 1st Generation family cattle ranch out of Newcastle, Nebraska, the Robinson Ranch. Their cattle are raised using sustainable, low-stress practices and you can truly taste the quality in the finished beef. It's outstanding and it's wonderful to be able to share it with you. Supporting our farmers and ranchers as a chef is a massive passion of mine and to see ranchers BJ and Stephanie's success is very inspiring!
Oxtails are simply the tail meat of beef cattle. When cooked low and slow and for a long period of time, they are fall-apart delicious. The broth becomes incredibly rich and satisfying. It's a stew I recommend you prepare the day before you want to enjoy it. It's full of naturally occurring gelatin and the resulting flavor is wonderful. Soups and stews are always best the next day!
When fabricated, the oxtails are portioned by cutting into sections by finding the break in each vertebrae. It looks very easy but it takes a little time to patiently find each section, then cleanly cut through it to get the portion cut. The cuts will vary in thickness as the tail portion starts to get smaller and smaller. Don't worry, just cutting the sections as uniformly as possible is the goal and when cooking low and slow, they will be deliciously tender.
To make the stew even richer, I added a pound of the Robinson Ranch Stew Meat. You'll see from the picture it's incredible lean and portioned ready to cook. When the stew is complete, the meat is soft and tender with incredible taste.
For the rest of the ingredients, they are all easy to find at your local supermarket and focus on uniformly cutting the ingredients, the stew will then cook uniformly and the resulting broth is rich and satisfying.
Once the stew is underway, you'll notice in the recipe it calls for canned pinto beans and canned hominy. Be sure to drain both well. I chose these for this preparation simply because they are a wonderful product and after this has cooked for a few good hours to make the oxtails and stew meat tender, adding the final ingredients make the stew finish rather quickly because you simply need to heat them through.
Hominy is available in either white or gold. For me, I prefer the golden as it's simply so pretty in this finished stew! If you can't find it, no problem. The white hominy works just fine.
So give this deliciousness a go. It takes a little time on the stove but it's total comfort food. You'll notice within the recipe it notes suggested toppings and I have to tell you, if there's only one that you go with, it must be the fresh lime! Yes, the additional onions, cilantro and radish are amazing but it's that lime that is the mic drop! Trust me! I can't wait for you to try it! So on to the recipe!
1 ½-2 lb Robinson Ranch Oxtail, cut into sections
1 lb Robinson Ranch Stew Meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 medium yellow onion, small dice
1 medium green bell pepper, small dice (seeds/ribs removed)
1 garlic head, intact, top cut off
2 bay leaves
1 bunch of cilantro, tied up with twine
3 T. beef or chicken bouillon powder
3 t. dried oregano (Mexican preferred)
1 t. chili powder (add more if desired)
Salt to taste
1 can (1 lb, 13oz) pinto beans, drained, rinsed
2 cans (15.5 oz) hominy, golden or white, drained
Minced onions, cilantro, radishes, and fresh lime
Place the oxtails in a large soup pot, pour in about 8-9 cups cold water or just until the beef is just covered. Bring it to a boil and with a spoon remove all of the foam that forms on top of the pot. Cook for 30 minutes. Once the foam has been removed, add the stew meat, onion, bell pepper, garlic, bay leaves, and cilantro. Cook on low heat covered about 1 ½-2 hours, or until all the beef is very tender. When the beef is very tender, remove the garlic, bay leaves and cilantro. Discard. Add the bouillon powder, oregano, chili powder and season to taste with salt. Add the rinsed beans and drained hominy. Cover and cook for 5 minutes to heat all ingredients through. Serve hot and garnish with your favorite toppings or wait and serve the next day for even richer flavor! Serves 4-6. Enjoy!
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