Oxtail Stew

Our move has opened up a variety of different things to cook. My wish list of things that I have always wanted to try have become possible. Different kinds of fish, goose, duck, lamb(cheaper here), curries, and in this case oxtail. For some Americans this may sound weird. In the south, it is commonly cooked. Here in the UK they make soup with it.

In the grocery store it is pretty cheap. Therefore, I was excited to try it. Beware it is very fatty. Oxtail is from the tail hence the name.

Oxtail Stew (recipe adapted from Food Network by The Neelys)

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Ingredients

2 lb (1 kg) oxtail, try and find the meatiest oxtails

1/2 cup flour (I used wheat flour because that is all they we ever have)

1 large onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, smashed

2 carrots, chopped into chunks

2 celery stalks, chopped into chunks

4 fresh thyme stalks

1/4 cup tomato paste

15 oz (500 g) can of chopped tomatoes

1 bottle dry red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon)

2 bay leaves

1 Knorr Beef Stock Pot (or 2 beef boullion cups)

8 oz (250 g) brown mushrooms, cut in half

2 tbsp cider vinegar

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Using cold water wash and dry the oxtails.

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Mix together flour, salt and pepper.

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Dredge the oxtails in the flour mixture.

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Heat up a large stock pot or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add a tablespoon of rapeseed oil. If you do not have rapeseed you can use olive oil.

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Brown all of the oxtails on all sides. Then transfer them to a plate.

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Throw the onion, carrot, celery, thyme, and garlic into the pot and sauté. If you are weary about the garlic being left whole. Do not worry about it. This is going to cook so long that it will dissolve and become amazing.

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Sauté the veggies until the onions are translucent. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper. It is very important that you season food in stages. Every time you add something new you could season.

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Add the 1/4 cup of tomato paste into the vegetables. Stir together so that the paste is incorporated will.

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Add about a 1/2 a cup of the wine to the mixture. Using a wooden spoon scrap the bottom so that the wonderful bits that are stuck to the pan come up. This is called deglazing.

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Add the rest of the wine, chopped tomatoes, Knorr beef stock pot(see next picture), a can full of water, and two bay leaves.

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I love these things. I think they are starting to come out in the US and I would highly recommend them. They come in chicken, beef, fish, vegetable, and herbs.

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Add the oxtails back into the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover. Leave alone for three hours! You can stir every once in a while. I think this would work wonderfully in the crock pot.

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After the three hours remove the oxtails from the pot. You may need forks to remove the meat from the bones because they will be hot.

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While I am dealing with the oxtails I let the rest of the stew simmer without a lid. This will let the stew reduce a little bit.

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After removing the meat from the bones the best I could I finger through the meat. Oxtail as I mentioned before is very fatty. If you use your fingers to sift through the meat you can pick through the fat. If you take a piece in your fingers and squish it you can feel the tender meat and the thick fatty pieces which will not be pleasant to eat.

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This is the fat and bones that were left over. Before adding the meat back to the pot I searched for the thyme stalks and bay leaves.

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These are the last two ingredients needed. Throw in the chopped mushrooms, beef, and cider vinegar. The vinegar brightens up the flavor.

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Simmer the stew for 30 minutes. This is the great opportunity to prepare the noodles and make a side dish. I cooked up some green beans.

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Serve it up and enjoy.

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Beware. When you stew the oxtail it breaks down the bone marrow and this causes a jelly like consistency. If you have ever made homemade stock you know that when you refrigerate it it gels up. Don’t worry it is okay to eat. We had this for lunch today and it was just as good the second time around.

I hope you are daring and try this one out. Let me know what you think.

Seeing Where We Live

David here,

While I’ve already posted all these pictures, I thought I would repost them here. This way you can seem them all together, rather than having to sift through my twitter and Facebook feeds to find them.

The Nursery School

This is the nursery school right across the street from our flat. If we leave the windows open our flat is suddenly filled with the sounds of small children running, jumping, and playing. Some days, they pipe Disney music through their PA system. Lauren and I like to walk by and see the kids playing and laughing.

The Staff/Postgrad Lounge

This is The Hemsely. It’s a restaurant, bar, café and a great place to read. Since I’m in my first year of Ph.D. I have to do a near inordinate amount of reading. On reading heavy days (which is basically everyday) I like to come here for a few hours, put in my headphones and read, and read, and read, and read. Sometimes our department has seminars where visiting professors come and give presentations followed by having a drink in the bar afterward.

The Humanities Building

This is the Humanities Building. This is where my desk, computer, and the books I keep at the University. It’s brand new, only finished a month and a half ago. This is also where all my colleagues and professors have their desks and offices.

My desk

My desk at the University. This is where I do some of my work.

The field next to the Humanities Building

This beautiful landscape is what I get to see every time I leave the Humanities Building. I can’t wait to see it with snow.

Our flat building

And this is the outside of our flat building. We’ve only met one of the neighbors, a lovely woman named either Jone or June (we can’t tell). I’m not sure how old she is, but she did reference consorting with American service men during WWII. She lives with her dog Barney, who makes almost no noise.

Well, those are all the pictures I’ll post for now. Stay tuned to see more of this new world in which Lauren and I live.

Thanks for all your love and support.

Our New Home: No Hot Water

David again.

I just thought I’d give our friends and family an update on our home situation. We’re settling in nicely. A few lights need to be replaced, but our landlord will take care of that. Currently, however, we are without hot water. This has been a problem since Saturday morning, around 11 AM.

At first, we thought the problem was with our gas heater. So, Monday morning (after having emailed our landlord on Sunday) I called both the water company (who told me they couldn’t do anything about it) and the electric/gas company. E.On, our electric/gas company, sent a man over to check our heater and he said things were fine. He then checked our water and said the problem was pressure. Not enough water is going into the boiler to turn it on. So it’s been cold showers, or no showers, since Saturday. Hopefully we’ll have a plumber come by today and fix the problem. Nevertheless, prayers for pressure and the return of hot water will be welcomed.

Thanks for reading,

David

David’s Life at University

David here.

I thought I would let everyone know what things are like here at the University. I haven’t brought the camera out to campus yet, so I don’t have any pictures for you, but if you want to see the building I do most of my work in go to my colleague, Eric’s, blog.

My Day

My usual day, even though I haven’t really had one yet, starts with walking the mile walk from our apartment to the Humanities Building (where I work) and arriving at about 9 AM. From there I sit down at my computer and my laptop, check email and then pull down a book to start reading and taking notes.

Four days a week, I have Latin class at various times and in various places. It is an undergraduate course, so most days I’m third oldest person in the room. I’m only younger than a fellow Ph.D. student and the professor. Depending on when it is, I eat lunch before or after Latin and then resume my studies which currently consists of almost entirely reading and note taking.

Occasionally, I sit in on other classes as well. One of the perks of being a research student is I can audit any class I choose, so long as the professor doesn’t mind, and I don’t have to pay for it or take the exams.

My Professor

Dr. Thomas O’Loughlin (pronounced Oh Lochlan) is my main professor. He’s the one I talk to about my research. He suggests resources to me, tells me when my research isn’t strong enough and will be the first person to read each chapter/portion of my thesis as I write it.

Dr. O’Loughlin is very kind and incredibly intelligent. He and I disagree on several matters some of which pertain to my research, but that is encouraged in this environment.

My Colleagues

The people I spend most of my time with are fellow Ph.D. students in my department. We talk to each other about our research, theology in general, life, movies, books, etc. Some days, I might not get much written or read, but the conversations I’ve had that day will have helped me grasp something in my research I didn’t understand before. The men and women with whom I work are all very interesting and Lauren and I are becoming close to some of them. So far, however, most of them have 6-8 years on us.

In the end, I’m enjoying my time immensely here at the University and we’ll see what the coming semester will bring.

We miss and love you all.

Two Weeks

We arrived in Nottingham two weeks ago. It doesn’t feel like two weeks. It feels like we have been here for 24 hours. We have had this sense of displacement. When we arrived in Nottingham we were living in a hotel. Which was great for about 24 hours then the reality of it all sank in. Flat/Home. Bank Account. Registering David. Phone. Job. Public Transportation. Everything connected and we didn’t know where to start.

It took two weeks but we are starting to feel settled. We were able to make some good connections with other couples in David’s department. And through the generosity of one of those couples we have had a temporary home to live in until our place was ready. We have learned a lot in the last two weeks. Things to say. Things not to say. School stuff. Life stuff. Differences. I am starting to feel more comfortable.

We move in tomorrow. That is when the real adventure begins. A furnished flat doesn’t come with everything. Towels. Shower curtain. Bedding. Kitchen stuff. I am very excited to nest again. We have been living with families and out of suitcases. I can’t wait to have a David and Lauren home. To be able to look for something on a hanger not rummage through a suitcase or two looking for that one white tank top.

Sadly, it has been two short weeks that not many pictures have been taken. I promise pictures in then next blog!

Lauren