Can Cook, Must Cook

The food adventures of Franka P, a Trinidadian journalist living in London, UK. I'll write about my forays into all types of food and cooking, particularly Caribbean food. I'll also review books and recipes by the leading food writers and talk about the issues making headlines in the gastronomic world.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Comfort food for a rainy day

My friend Pat sent me a sumptuous oxtail recipe that she's loved since she was a child. She said, "would you believe I used to clean out the pot to get the last bit of bean sauce?"
Pat insists on getting fresh oxtail from the butcher, because somehow the frozen stuff just doesn't taste the same. It sounds like a dish that'll be perfect for a rainy Saturday.
Try it and tell me what you think.

Oxtail and Red Beans
by Pat Ganase

3 tbsp cooking oil
3 tbsp brown sugar
2-3 lbs "fresh" oxtail, butcher cut in sections
2-3 cm/3/4 inch ginger, finely chopped
Sprig of thyme
4-5 cloves garlic

1 lb red beans, soaked and boiled or tinned
1 large onion
6 mild chillies, chopped
1 Scotch bonnet pepper
450 g/1lb pumpkin, cubed
225ml/8 ozs tomato ketchup
Salt to taste

1. Heat oil in a deep iron pot (or pressure cooker),
2. Add sugar, caramelise until it's deep brown and bubbling - not burnt.
3. Add oxtail pieces and stir until they are nicely browned.
4. Add thyme, ginger and half the garlic.
5. Cover with water and cook at medium heat. (If you have a pressure cooker, cook on high for 10-15 minutes.)
6. After an hour or when meat is soft, but not falling off the bone, add red beans , onion, remaining garlic, mild chillies, pumpkin and salt.
7. At this point, ensure the sauce is the consistency of a thick stew, not too soupy.
8. Add tomato ketchup and simmer.
9. In the last five minutes, put the Scotch Bonnet pepper on top.
10. The oxtail is ready when the meat is just falling off the bone, beans are soft and melting and pumpkin is falling apart. Serve with steaming white rice and a salad of cucumber and onion marinated in lime juice.

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