2

votes

Oxtail Fail, or how to make a good pot au feu!

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 28, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Hey paleo peeps,

I bought some oxtail, and I also got my hands on some marrow bones (* jumps up and down with happiness * - I had nearly given up trying to find this stuff in the UK, people here seem very scared of offal)

So I decided to make 'pot au feu', and after a look at some recipes I just realised that it was like any stew, except with gelatinous meat cuts and marrow. So I went about the normal way I'd do with a stew - browned it, and stuck it in a slow cooker along with some carrots, parsnips, onions, a ton of garlic (I'm one of those people who are often mistakenly diagnosed with vampire phobia - I buy enough garlic to make a string reaching the bottom of the mariana trench), the usual bouquet garni & bayleaf, put in the marrow, oxtail, some leftover grassfed lamb I had moping about in the freezer & some water (I figured I didn't need broth since I had the marrowbone in there). And I stuck it on low for about 8 hours.

So it turned out very bland, very fatty and the flavour wasn't the best. Mind you, I love fat, and this was good, grassfed farmed stuff, but it was just too much! I'm sorry if this seems to be a google sort of question, but I used google for pot au feu recipes and this is what happened! And most searches on marrow just give results of neurosurgery clinics and pictures of what looks like a humungous zucchini...

Now, I've seen lots of oxtail recipes in the paleosphere but they all seem to involve stewing in a gloopy tomato sauce, which I don't like. I prefer a clearer soup, though I wouldn't mind the addition of tomatoes as long as they don't cloud the broth too much - so, I wouldn't want to use tomato paste or canned tomatoes in juice.

So, do you have any good recipes for a pot au feu, or simply a stew using marrow and, perhaps, oxtail? I'd especially like if someone had a traditional french recipe for this, being a fan of french cuisine.

P.S. I do prefer something I could chuck in a slow cooker. I'm out all day so that really is the only way I make stews.

Thanks in advance!

Milla

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on February 29, 2012
at 06:14 PM

fat is easy to remove :) my suggestion for the water change was because in my experience gelatin in the broth tends to mask the flavours in the broth. i make mine with a tendon added in and the first time i tried that it was like a liquid mush; just too much gelatin/collagen for the volume of water. i change the liquid at about the 24 hour mark.

B9637ddb9a9a5c6a7306e3c804fcd21d

(3217)

on February 29, 2012
at 05:01 PM

Oh yes, raw broccoli makes my stomach complain a lot! I have to make sure I cook them a little beyond fork-tender. Hah, but I get home late and I'm lazy, so I just put them in a bowl with butter, cover with a plate and bung them in the microwave (THE HORROR); tbh its just fast steaming. :-D

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on February 29, 2012
at 04:37 PM

The only way I can handle brussels sprouts without digestive feedback is to cook the devil out of them. I actually put them in earlier than other vegetables because of that. They still taste good to me, although soft, and I don't have any trouble with them that way.

B9637ddb9a9a5c6a7306e3c804fcd21d

(3217)

on February 29, 2012
at 09:24 AM

Thanks sage. Overcooked veggies weren't really the issue - they were actually quite nice and firm, just over-laden with the fat! I wanted a gelatinous I could perhaps use later; wouldn't changing the water prevent that? Also, as I said, I'm out all day. I'm not there to change the water...:-)

B9637ddb9a9a5c6a7306e3c804fcd21d

(3217)

on February 29, 2012
at 09:22 AM

Thanks for you answer. I think browning the vegetables and meat and then deglazing the pan and adding the gravy would also add to the flavour a lot - I didn't do that, just chucked the pan in the sink after browning...! Left all the good stuff...

B9637ddb9a9a5c6a7306e3c804fcd21d

(3217)

on February 29, 2012
at 09:20 AM

Thanks Nance; I actually used some celeriac root along with the parsnips (I was in clean-out-the-fridge mode), which has a similar taste. But definitely milder. I'll try using a mirepoix next time I suppose. I'd be wary of adding brassicas to a stew though, its easy to overcook those and get a sulphurous aroma..

B9637ddb9a9a5c6a7306e3c804fcd21d

(3217)

on February 29, 2012
at 09:17 AM

Thanks Joshua! I actually did add a spoonful of acv at the beginning, always do when cooking with bones. :-) It really helps with the gelatin extraction, I used to struggle to make broth that would jellyfy (is that a word...?) and then I started adding acidity and it helped a lot :-)

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21420)

on February 28, 2012
at 03:59 PM

I forgot to mention (and this is important!) add some acidity before and after cooking. This means for a batch of oxtails in a 6 quart cooker I will add perhaps 1tbsp apple cider vinegar for every 2 quarts of water, and I usually add some lemon juice to taste afterwards. The vinegar also helps to extract more nutrients (minerals especially) from the bones and speeds up the collagen extraction.

  • B9637ddb9a9a5c6a7306e3c804fcd21d

    asked by

    (3217)
  • Views
    2.4K
  • Last Activity
    1278D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

4 Answers

best answer

3
246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21420)

on February 28, 2012
at 01:44 PM

First off, I usually strain and chill my oxtail broth, allowing the fat to rise to the top so I can skim it in one big "disk". I like to fry rutabaga "hash" with it... delicious.

What's left, should be a semi-solid block of gelatin.

Marrow does not provide very much flavor at all (in a broth I mean, by itself it's divine), but a large amount of gelatin. In fact, marrow broths are often very unctuous, without any flavor at all. The oxtails, on the other hand, do provide some flavor so maybe your ratios were a little skewed.

I would try making your pot au feu with just oxtails, strain and chill the broth to remove the bulk of fat (oxtail is particularly fatty), then reheat and cook with the broth as planned.

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21420)

on February 28, 2012
at 03:59 PM

I forgot to mention (and this is important!) add some acidity before and after cooking. This means for a batch of oxtails in a 6 quart cooker I will add perhaps 1tbsp apple cider vinegar for every 2 quarts of water, and I usually add some lemon juice to taste afterwards. The vinegar also helps to extract more nutrients (minerals especially) from the bones and speeds up the collagen extraction.

B9637ddb9a9a5c6a7306e3c804fcd21d

(3217)

on February 29, 2012
at 09:17 AM

Thanks Joshua! I actually did add a spoonful of acv at the beginning, always do when cooking with bones. :-) It really helps with the gelatin extraction, I used to struggle to make broth that would jellyfy (is that a word...?) and then I started adding acidity and it helped a lot :-)

2
B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on February 28, 2012
at 01:34 PM

perhaps for the amount of bones used you could have changed the water to get a couple of batches? i pour off the first batch into a mason jar and add boiling water to the crock for round two.

typically, i don't add veggies till the bones come out. in my experience they loose flavour when overcooked.

B9637ddb9a9a5c6a7306e3c804fcd21d

(3217)

on February 29, 2012
at 09:24 AM

Thanks sage. Overcooked veggies weren't really the issue - they were actually quite nice and firm, just over-laden with the fat! I wanted a gelatinous I could perhaps use later; wouldn't changing the water prevent that? Also, as I said, I'm out all day. I'm not there to change the water...:-)

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on February 29, 2012
at 06:14 PM

fat is easy to remove :) my suggestion for the water change was because in my experience gelatin in the broth tends to mask the flavours in the broth. i make mine with a tendon added in and the first time i tried that it was like a liquid mush; just too much gelatin/collagen for the volume of water. i change the liquid at about the 24 hour mark.

1
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on February 28, 2012
at 05:06 PM

I use lots of celery and some vinegar when slow-cooking bones to cut the "just fat" element of the flavor. I cook until the bones are completely clean, which is more like 14-18 hours than 8, remove the bones and add a bunch of vegetables. As a stew it's wonderful and the more stuff you add the better it tastes. My favorites are cauliflower and rutabagas but I usually add something green also--brussel sprouts, cactus strips, or broccoli.

I'm not a big fan of just broth.

B9637ddb9a9a5c6a7306e3c804fcd21d

(3217)

on February 29, 2012
at 09:20 AM

Thanks Nance; I actually used some celeriac root along with the parsnips (I was in clean-out-the-fridge mode), which has a similar taste. But definitely milder. I'll try using a mirepoix next time I suppose. I'd be wary of adding brassicas to a stew though, its easy to overcook those and get a sulphurous aroma..

B9637ddb9a9a5c6a7306e3c804fcd21d

(3217)

on February 29, 2012
at 05:01 PM

Oh yes, raw broccoli makes my stomach complain a lot! I have to make sure I cook them a little beyond fork-tender. Hah, but I get home late and I'm lazy, so I just put them in a bowl with butter, cover with a plate and bung them in the microwave (THE HORROR); tbh its just fast steaming. :-D

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on February 29, 2012
at 04:37 PM

The only way I can handle brussels sprouts without digestive feedback is to cook the devil out of them. I actually put them in earlier than other vegetables because of that. They still taste good to me, although soft, and I don't have any trouble with them that way.

1
1398eff69b192c35de5e0dbaad59052a

(2024)

on February 28, 2012
at 03:53 PM

Personally, I'm not a huge fan of crockpots (I assume that's what you mean by slow cooker?) because stuff always tastes blander to me, whether it's stew, stock, whatever. This could be my own lack of crockpotting skills, or the quality of my crockpot.I don't know--but I've given up on it.

I've never done oxtail soup, more of a braise. For what it's worth, here's what I do: Cast iron, sear on the stove, remove oxtail, make mirepoix, remove mirepoix, deglaze with stock, add it all back with herbs and stick it in the oven for a couple of hours. (I agree with the comment above to use just oxtail and then deglaze with already made stock.) The oxtail releases a LOT of fat, so I keep the amount of liquid to a minimum, perhaps halfway up the sides, and if there's a lot of liquid, I'll generally reduce it a bit before serving--and serve with a ton of veggies, which soaks up the fat and is delicious. Throwing a couple of sweet potatoes or potatoes in the pot is good too.

B9637ddb9a9a5c6a7306e3c804fcd21d

(3217)

on February 29, 2012
at 09:22 AM

Thanks for you answer. I think browning the vegetables and meat and then deglazing the pan and adding the gravy would also add to the flavour a lot - I didn't do that, just chucked the pan in the sink after browning...! Left all the good stuff...

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!