Thursday, May 20, 2010

Reunited and it TASTES so good! Oxtails with Rice & Peas

"In this bright future, you cannot forget your past"- Bob Marley

Since the onset of my cooking obsession, there has been one type of meat that I would quickly push my shopping cart away from in the supermarket. Oxtail (in my "i see dead people voice"). Yeeshy! Just the thought of it made my palms sweat. Quincy has been practically begging for oxtails for months. He ordered them regularly from Orvril's restaurant until sadly, they closed. I am afraid of oxtails. They bring back memories of eating them. Every. Single. Sunday. I mean, it was like you couldn't have another dish if you didn't have oxtail to go with it. Oxtail, rice, chicken. Oxtail, rice, beef. Oxtail, rice, goat. Oxtail and rice. Oxtail and macaroni pie. Oxtail, oxtail, oxtail, freaking OXTAIL! By the time Jannell and I were 12, we had come to despise oxtail. It wasn't that it tasted bad, but we were tired of it. My mother, bless her heart, was very keen on paying attention to what we liked to eat. The problem with that was, she wasn't too keen on paying attention to when we stopped liking it (hence, too much oxtail). Once we were old enough to refuse to eat it, I swore off oxtail. Flash forward to Thanksgiving 2009. I was having a conversation with Mrs.Blake (KB's mom-Love her!), and told her about my bad relationship with oxtails. I admitted that part of my fear was the fact that it seemed so difficult to make. She assured me in her loving Jamaican mama way, that I was wrong. She then proceeded to tell me her recipe. Months later, Quincy and I had gotten into some silly argument, and instead of admitting that I was wrong (something I need to work on), I yelled "I won't be here when you get back" as he walked out the door on his way to work. I sat stewing (no pun intended) for the whole day. Not wanting to leave, but also not wanting to admit my part in the argument. I finally decided that there was no better way to end the drama than to pull out my secret weapon. I headed to the supermarket in the pouring rain ( POURING RAIN! That alone should have served as an adequate apology). After spending 15 minutes looking at the oxtail they had in the freezer section, I called KB. No answer. Shit, shit, shit! How am I supposed to know if I should buy the oxtail in bag or the one in the package? Another 10 minutes goes by and I finally follow my chef intuition and buy the freshly packaged meat.( TIP: When purchasing meat, it should be bright red, not brown looking). So, I headed home and got to work in my usual "anything goes" way. ( I should have written down Mrs.Blake's recipe). When Quincy burst threw the door, he was smiling from ear to ear. "Baby, you made me oxtails".....He sucked the bones, then asked for seconds...... and just like that, the argument was over.
Yeah, I'm bad. I know it. Me too hot and a dat nuff gyal nuh like; dem a everybody something and me a wife! POW!
This blog post is dedicated to my yardie sisters (pls say with Jamaican accent):
Samantha (Sam-an-Ta), Franny (Fran-e),Karen (Kar-ren), Tania (Tan-ya), Tamika (Ta-mee-ka), Tanisha (Ta-nee-sha), Nadine (Nay-dine), & Rashelle (Rah-shell)

LYMI- The Delicious Diva

1lb of oxtails (you can purchase these freshest at the meat market)
1 green bell pepper (cut in slices)
Fresh black pepper
Onion powder
Garlic Powder
1/2 Onion (cut is slices)
Cayenne Pepper
Jamaican Choice Oxtail Seasoning
West Indian Green Seasoning
A handful of Jamaican Choice All Spice Pimento
Worschester Sauce
Olive Oil
A cast iron pot (not a requirement, but def best results)

Rice & Peas:
1 cup red kidney beans, dry (wash beans before cooking)
coconut milk (or creamed coconut)
1 thyme, sprigfresh
1 clove gralic, crushed
1 green onion, chopped
3 hot peppers, sliced (can be edited out)
2 cups rice, uncooked
salt, to taste

Oxtail Recipe:
Soak oxtails in a bowl of cold water and vinegar for 1/2 hr (just a small amount of vinegar does the trick)
Rinse oxtails well, then season. I always use my hands to really rub the seasonings into my meats. I think it really makes a difference in them absorbing the flavors.
Let oxtails marinate for at least 1/2 hr. Longer if you can!
In a cast iron pot, add oil (not too much!). Once oil is hot, add a large pot spoonful of sugar. Let the sugar brown. When it gets dark and starts bubbling, add the oxtail. Mix well to coat the oxtail with the burned sugar, then cover and lower stove to a simmer.
Stir occassionally and add more water if it looks like it may be drying out. Add the green peppers, onions, and pimento.
Cover and cook under low/medium heat for 2 hrs. Oxtail is a tough meat, and needs to cook for a long time to become tender. ( I learned that the hard way)

Rice & Peas recipe:
In a medium saucepan, place the washed beans. Add the coconut milk and bring to boil. Reduce the heat. Cook until the beans are tender. Add the thyme, garlic, green onion, and salt. Add the hot pepper if you choose to use it. Simmer for a few minutes. Add the rice.
The liquid should come up to 1-inch above the rice. Add water if needed.

Cover the pot. Bring to a boil again. Reduce the heat to low. Cook until liquid is absorbed.

Once cooked, plate oxtails with rice & peas, a side of plantain, and salad. Enjoy! (and win arguments)
Oxtails, Rice & Peas

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