The way to Z’s heart

Autumn is certainly here and, therefore, the time for hearty stews has arrived.  So I bought oxtail at the butcher’s and cooked it for several hours (do not believe a recipe that suggests two or three hours will do for an oxtail, it needs five), with carrot, onion, swede, red wine, orange peel, rosemary, bay leaf and thyme, and it was excellent.

We talked about offal, which I suppose is oxtail’s category though it isn’t innards, and how you never see it at supermarkets nowadays and rarely even at the butcher’s unless you order it.  If one doesn’t eat meat at all, that’s one thing but, if one does, then I think that one should tackle all edible parts.  Though I’ve never tried tripe, which LT, who has, says is disgusting.

I’ve only eaten heart twice and one of those times, I cooked it myself.  The first was the more memorable.  i was invited to stay with a schoolfriend and asked to arrive about 3 in the afternoon.  So we ate lunch at 1 o’clock and I arrived … in time for lunch, which they ate late in the holidays.  Who knew?  And it was heart, stuffed, in gravy; one each.  i was probably about 13 and had never seen such a thing.  And I wasn’t hungry – but I was polite and it was, indeed, absolutely delicious.  My friend’s mother was an excellent cook and managed superb meals on a fairly small budget.  I ate the heart.

As we chatted, it was apparent how many times I may have forgotten most things about an occasion, but I often remember the food.  It’s a wonder I’m not even bigger than I am, actually.

2 comments on “The way to Z’s heart

  1. LẌ

    I’ve not tried to cook ox tail. I have cooked Osso Buco (cross-cut beef shanks) in the oven in a braiser pan, which cooks in two hours.

    Not a fan of offal here. That said, I did try Haggis on my Scotland trip and lived to tell the story.

    1. Z Post author

      Funnily enough, last night at dinner, when we were eating the oxtail again (still enough left for soup for lunch), Tim mentioned Osso Buco and he hadn’t read your comment. I’ve never cooked it but it’s one of his specialities, except we haven’t seen the shanks for sale. We will order them from the butcher soon.

      My mother served liver and kidney when I was small – I don’t think children are brought up to eat them now, parents think they’re too challenging! A previous Headteacher at the High School loved braised liver and bacon and so it was served regularly as an option for lunch in the winter. No idea how many of the children asked for it, though, but it was appreciated by the teachers.


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