She heard John’s footsteps coming up the stairs. She was eagerly awaiting his customary visit. John’s words were her only link with the world. If only she could talk, tell him how much his presence and his conversations meant to her. If only she could go down to Alex and kiss him like the son she didn’t have, play with him until they were tired, if only she could remember how to cook so much as a couple of eggs, enjoy any kind of food, if only she could… return to life. She noticed a smell that struck her. A smell that was foreign to this house. John opened the door and stood there with a tray in his hands and a bowlful of ox-tail soup!
-Like Water For Chocolate, Laura Esquirel
This meal was delicious. Tender meat, bit of a spicy kick, and comforting on a cool evening in front of the fireplace. We teamed it up with chunks of warm sourdough bread to soak up the excess liquid in the bowl.
But. Whatever you do. Do not pour boiling soupy stew onto your hand. Simple, yeah? Apparently for a clutz like me, not so much. Try to avoid doing the same. Kind wrecks the enjoyment of the meal. You’ll end up crying as much Tita does.
- a tbsp of olive oil
- 1-2 lb oxtail (they come available cut into pieces)
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 tsp garlic mince
- 4 cups water
- 2 large potatoes, chopped into bite sized pieces
- 250g green beans, washed, ends cut off and snapped into three pieces each bean
- a can diced tomato
- 1 tsp smoky paprika and 1 tsp chili powder (or if you have access, like the original, add 4 chiles moritas/ chipotle peppers. We don't have them here)
- The original recipe says to brown the oxtails, onion and garlic, simmer in water, pull meat from bones, add veggies, simmer more, yada yada yada.
- Instead, in a dutch oven on the stove (best. thing. ever. I bought mine from Target for $25), fry the onion and garlic in the oil, then pop everything in.
- Let it heat up on high, then turn it down and simmer for ~2.5 hours. With meat like ox tail, tough, chewy, the longer you cook it, the better.
- At the 2 hour mark, you still pull the meat out, let it cool, tear meat off the bone, then toss it back in for the rest of the half hour, with the lid off to let the liquid reduce.
- Spoon it into bowls (watch the fingers!) and serve with chunks of bread.