When I was younger, my mother refused to allow me to cook. She desired no help in the kitchen, moreover did not want any of her children learning how to cook, instead she insisted that we focus on school work. I'm not sure if she lacked the patience or if it she did not want us distracted by the labor involved with cooking, looking back it was probably both.
Consequently none of her three children know a single recipe for the dishes they grew up consuming, and the culinary skills they have developed as adults are independent of what they have learned from their childhood.
I've always had a deep interest in cooking, and found it very satisfying to share the experience of eating with close friends and family members. Despite the void of culinary training during my upbringing, I rely heavily on other people's recipe collections to recreate many of the dishes that I grew up on. It goes without saying that I am thrilled to be participating in the world of food blogging, which has become an amazing platform for like-minded people looking to share their experience with food. More importantly, it has facilitated the important task of record-keeping and recipe sharing that people like me would not otherwise have access.
CHINESE BRAISED OXTAIL STEW
(Adapted from Bones: Recipes, History and Love)
- 3 pounds oxtail
- sea salt and pepper
- 1 - 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
- 1 cup low-sodium beef or chicken stock
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoon brown sugar
- 2 star anise
- 2 whole cloves
- 2 lemongrass stalks, trimmed and bruised
- 2 green onions, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
- 3 slices of fresh ginger
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 Thai chili pepper, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
- zest of a lime
- 1 cup fresh shiitake mushrooms, trimmed or dried shiitake mushrooms rehydrated.
- Generously season the oxtails with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large ovenproof pot, preferably cast iron, with a tight-fitting lid. Brown the oxtails, working in batches to avoid overcrowding, brown on all sides, adding oil if necessary. Remove the browned oxtails to a plate and set aside.
- Once done browning the oxtails, drain and discard the excess fat from the pot, return the pot to the stove and turn up the heat to high. Add the Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry and bring to a boil, scraping up the flavorful brown bits on the pot. Stir in chicken stock, soy sauce and brown sugar, making sure the ingredients are dissolved before adding lemon grass, chili pepper, star anise, cloves, 2-inch sliced green onions, ginger and garlic. Bring to a boil. Turn off heat. Return oxtails to the pot and add lime zest. Cover and transfer to the oven. Bake at 300°F for 1 1/2 hours.
- Flip over the oxtail tails, cover again and cook for another 1 1/2 hours, or until the oxtail is very tender. Remove the pot from the oven.
- At this point, the oxtails can be refrigerated for a make ahead meal over the next few days. Otherwise, place the pot on the stove top over medium heat, stir in the shiitake mushrooms until the sauce coats the mushrooms well, and simmer until the mushrooms are soft, about 10 minutes. Remove oxtails from the pot and serve over rice. Sprinkle each serving with thinly sliced green onions.