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Oxtail Stew

Succulent beef that fell of the bone, earthy vegetables, a decadent sauce… You’d think we were describing a restaurant, but that’s how Chef Zach’s oxtail stew came out tonight!  There is some planning and prep work, but there’s also lots of time to spend waiting around.  Fill the wait time with catching up on a good book, clearing out the DVR, or knocking out a few chores.

oxtail stew

oxtail stew

Makes 3

1 1/2 to 2 lbs. of oxtail, whatever it is for 6 bones

3 cups of beef broth

2 cups of red wine

3 carrots

About 15 tri-colored mini potatoes

1 small white onion

2 celery stalks

1/2 cup of all-purpose flour

4 strips of bacon

3 garlic cloves

2 tbs. of tomato paste

2 tsp. of dried thyme

1 tsp. of cracked black pepper

2 tsp. of Lawry’s seasoning salt

Salt to taste

Peel and slice the carrots in 1/4″ coins.  Dice the onions and celery also to 1/4″ pieces.  Peel and finely mince the garlic.  Season the flour with the Lawry’s seasoning salt.  Cut the potatoes into halves, then each half into quarters, then transfer to a bowl of water for the time being.

Heat a dutch oven on the stove over medium heat.  Cut the bacon into 1/4″ pieces and cook in the dutch oven until rendered of fat and crispy.  While the bacon is cooking, put the seasoned flour in a sealable storage bag along with the oxtail.  Toss the oxtail so that each piece is coated in flour.

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Remove the bacon from the dutch oven, leaving the fat; set aside the bacon for now.  Add the oxtail to the dutch oven, still over medium heat.  Brown all sides of each piece.  Remove the oxtail and set on a plate for the moment.  Turn down the heat to medium-low and add the carrots, onions, celery, and garlic.  Cook until all the vegetables are starting to turn roughly caramelized and soft, roughly 12 minutes and stirring frequently.

before the 3-hour simmer

before the 3-hour simmer

Add the tomato paste, thyme, and black pepper and cook for 1 minute more.  Add the beef broth and red wine, and bring back to a simmer.  Put the oxtail back into the mix, including any juices that accumulated on the plate.  Cover, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 3 hours, stirring occasionally flipping the oxtail pieces half-way through.

After 3 hours, drain the potatoes from the water, and add them to the dutch oven.  Cook for an additional 20-30 minutes uncovered so that the sauce thickens a little.  Taste for desired saltiness during this final cooking stage.

Serve 2 bones per person with lots of veggies, plus grits or fry bread.

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Roasted Root Vegetables

Zach was inspired to follow the seasons and pick up a vegetable that he had never cooked with before, and based on the recommendation of Frank at Whole Foods he roasted the celery root with an assortment of other hearty veggies.  Try this out, and we recommend that you serve it with shrimp and grits and jalapeño cornbread.

Serves 4-8

1 celery root

1 extra large parsnip

6 small carrots

1 red bell pepper

A handful of assorted pearl onions (white, yellow, and red)

1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp. of garlic powder

1/2 tsp. of dried thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

delicious and raw

delicious and raw

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Wash all your vegetables, and begin by peeling the parsnip and the celery root; you can use a potato peeler with the parsnip, but you will need a knife to cut away the external hard parts of the celery root.

ready to roast

ready to roast

Clean and deseed the bell pepper, and then cut into 8 strips.  Truthfully you don’t have to peel the carrots, just make sure they are cleaned really well and remove the stem.  Peel the onions.

in arakawa pottery, no less

in arakawa pottery, no less

Chop all the vegetables into manageable pieces (for example, Chef Zach turned the parsnip into little logs). Toss with the olive oil, garlic powder, thyme, salt, and pepper.  Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, but make sure you don’t overcook the vegetables; test for doneness with the poke of a sharp knife.

Paella al Estilo del Chef Zach

The foundation of all Western rice-based entrees, paella is Spain’s crown dish.  Regional varieties offer some with all seafood, some with surf and sky, some even with rabbit.  But the three things that unite all paellas are saffron, fresh ingredients (from sources as local as possible, preferably), and an open flame.  Cooking on a stove top instead of in the oven results in the desired texture of rice with just slightest bit of firmness.

Makes 8-10

48 oz. of organic chicken broth

3 cups of arborio rice

3 cups of water

3 bone-in chicken thighs (pull the skin off yourself; you want them skinless, but save the money)

1 lb. of large, cleaned, peeled, raw prawns

18 farm-raised black mussels

12 farm-raised little neck clams

1 1/2 cups of white wine

12 oz. of frozen peas

12 oz. of kielbasa

5 organic carrots

5 stalks of organic celery

1 large onion

1 large red bell pepper

6 whole garlic cloves

4 tbs. of extra virgin olive oil

1 tbs. of saffron threads in 1 cup of warm water, having soaked for at least 3 minutes

2 tsp. of kosher salt

1/2 tsp. of cracked black pepper

caramelize the carrots, celery, garlic, and onion

caramelize the carrots, celery, garlic, and onion

Roughly chop the carrots and celery.  Peel and halve the onion.  Cut one of the onion halves in half again, and put this with the carrots, celery, and garlic cloves in a large stock pot with 2 tbs. of olive oil over medium heat.  Cook for about 8-10 minutes, until the vegetables begin to caramelize.

add the stock and saffron

add the stock and saffron

Deglaze the stock pot with the wine.  Add the chicken stock, saffron, saffron water, and 3 cups of water, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium-low and let simmer for no more than 30 minutes; too much time can cause the vegetables to make the stock bitter.  Strain the vegetables when done and discard the solids, leaving just the liquid.

brown the chicken

brown the chicken

In a large paella pan, heat the remaining 2 tbs. of olive oil on medium heat.  Put the bone-in, skinless chicken thighs on the surface and begin to lightly brown the meat, about 5 minutes on each side.  In the meantime, remove the seeds of the bell pepper, then evenly dice the pepper and the remaining onion.

add the rest of the fresh veggies

add the rest of the fresh veggies

Move the chicken to the side of the pan, and add the bell pepper and onion.  Cook for about 7-8 minutes until the onion is translucent and the pepper softened, but you don’t want to brown these yet – if you see them starting to brown, reduce the heat.

add the kielbasa

add the kielbasa

Cut the kielbasa in 1″ chunks, and add to the paella pan.  Let cook for an additional 4 minutes.

saute the rice

saué the rice

Remove the chicken from the pan so that it is easier to stir in the rice.  It is essential that the rice grains all have the chance to be evenly coated by the pan oils, and ingredients need to be evenly mixed.  Nestle and somewhat submerge the chicken back into the rice, evenly spaced, after the rice has been sufficiently coated.

add the stock

add the stock

Pour in 2 1/2 to 3 cups of the stock.  Bring back to a simmer, still on medium heat, and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the rice is about three-quarters of the way cooked.  Keep adding stock through those 15 minutes, with 1/2 to 1 cup at a time to maintain the rice continuously submerged.

dump in the frozen peas

dump in the frozen peas

When the rice hits the three-quarter mark, add the frozen peas.  Also add the seafood, slightly nestling it similar to how you placed the chicken.  Whatever stock remains, add that as well.  Cover the pan with foil (it may require a few pieces to span the width).  Let sit for 10 minutes more, then remove from heat and let sit for an additional 5 minutes, still with the foil cover.

voilà

voilà

Peel away the foil and serve immediately.