Susan Alvarez made Teri Robl’s strawberry baby spinach and romaine salad with warm citrus shallot vinaigrette on Feb. 7, 2020, at Alvarez’s home in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Teri Robl)

Susan Alvarez made Teri Robl’s strawberry baby spinach and romaine salad with warm citrus shallot vinaigrette on Feb. 7, 2020, at Alvarez’s home in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Teri Robl)

Kachemak Cuisine: Oxtails are the secret to rich beef stock

One of the best batches of beef barley soup I’ve made.

Earlier this winter I became obsessed with making a large quantity of flavorful rich beef stock to freeze in smaller amounts and use with moose meat preparations and for soups and gravies, etc. I roasted marrow bones, I cooked moose roast pieces, I added every savory brown ingredient you can think of to make this stock taste rich, but I just wasn’t hitting the mark.

I reduced my stock, I added wine, I reduced it more. Finally, I texted the KBBI Check the Pantry host, Jeff Lockwood, and explained my dilemma. He replied back that I needed to add oxtails and or beef short ribs to get the level of beefy flavor I wanted. He said I needed bones with meat.

So off to the market I went in search of these flavor inducing ingredients. While selecting them from the meat department, I ran into a friend who is an excellent cook. He saw the packages of oxtail in my hand and told me they make the most amazing oxtail vegetable barley soup. I had never tasted oxtail in my life. I also bought beef short ribs and decided I would use them to add to my stock. They did the trick.

I stored the oxtails in the freezer for a time when I wanted soup. That time came this weekend. What took me so long to try these delicious, flavorful cuts of meat, I can’t say, but better late than never. This is one of the best batches of beef barley soup I’ve ever made.

Oxtail Soup with Root Vegetables and Barley

Cooking time: 3 hours for meat, 30 minutes for soup

8 servings

3 pounds meaty, larger sized oxtails (about 7 – a bit more will add meat and flavor)

5 tablespoons canola oil

Salt and pepper

7 1/4 cups beef broth (4 14 ½ ounce cans)

2 cups good dry red wine

Worcestershire sauce – add a hefty glug from the bottle

3 medium size carrots, peeled, finely chopped

2 leeks, white and pale green parts only, cleaned well, chopped

1 large yellow onion, diced

1 cup parsnips, peeled, cut into ½-inch cubes

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon snipped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 ½ teaspoon ground coriander

Salt and pepper

½ cup tomato puree (or 2 tablespoons tomato paste and 6 tablespoons tomato sauce)

2 bay leaves

2 Yukon gold potatoes, cut into ½ inch cubes

½ cup quick cooking barley (if you can’t find quick cooking, use old-fashioned pearled barley)

1 cup water

Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

¼ cup fresh flat leaf Italian parsley – optional

2 tablespoons fresh basil – optional

1 tablespoon fresh thyme – optional

Salt and pepper oxtails generously. In a big heavy pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat. Add half of the oxtails and brown on all sides, remove first batch and add the remaining oxtails to brown. Add beef broth and 2 cups of wine. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover partially and simmer gently, until meat is tender, stirring occasionally, about 3 hours.

Using tongs, transfer oxtails to large bowl. Carefully pour cooking liquid into a large glass bowl or measuring cup. Place cooking liquid in freezer and freeze until fat separates from liquid, about 45 minutes. Remove from freezer and spoon fat from top of liquid and discard. Remove meat from oxtails and add to liquid. Discard bones. (Can be made one day ahead; just cover and chill.)

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in same pot over medium-high heat. Add carrot, leeks, onion, parsnips, garlic, thyme and coriander. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté until vegetables are golden, about 12 minutes.

Add tomato puree (or tomato paste and sauce combination) and stir until it turns a brick red color. Add bay leaves.

Add cooking liquid with meat and 1 cup water. Bring to boil; add potato and barley. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes or until barley is tender. If soup is too thick, add a little water.

Season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper.

Stir in parsley, fresh basil and fresh thyme if desired. Ladle into bowls to serve.

Strawberry Baby Spinach and Romaine Salad with Warm Citrus Shallot Vinaigrette

Salads are a favorite of mine. They are a perfect way to add veggies and fruit to your diet and also add color, texture and flavor to a meal. Let the contents of your fruit and veggie refrigerator bin be your guide. Either salad dressing recipe complements this salad.

You can prepare individual salads of the greens and other ingredients decoratively arranged on pretty plates, or use a big shallow bowl to be placed on the table to showcase the colors. Add extra crunch by sprinkling some toasted almonds or pecans on top.

Salad Ingredients:

Baby spinach

Romaine lettuce torn in pieces

Sliced fresh strawberries

Mandarins or oranges, sectioned

Thin slivers of red onion

Avocado slices

Blue cheese, gorgonzola or feta crumbles

Warm Citrus Shallot Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

¼ cup minced shallot

1 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

½ teaspoon grated orange rind

Salt and pepper to taste

Add olive oil to a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until hot.

Add shallots and sauté until crisp tender. Add orange juice, balsamic and orange rind.

Heat all over low heat until thoroughly heated. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm drizzled over salad greens.

White Balsamic Dressing

This is a light, beautiful tasting blend of just a few ingredients to dress a salad with. Amounts are approximate. You will need more or less depending on to how much salad you are dressing.

3 tablespoons olive Oil

1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

Pinch of red pepper

Splash of dry white wine (if you happen to be enjoying a glass while cooking!)

Salt and pepper

In a small mixing bowl blend all ingredients together, add salt and pepper to taste.

Toss with salad and serve immediately.

Reach Teri Robl at easthood.queen@gmail.com.


By Teri Robl

For Homer News


Kachemak Cuisine: Oxtails are the secret to rich beef stock

More in Life

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)
Life in the Pedestrian Lane: What’s OLD?

It occurred to me that we go through stages all our lives.

This Rip Rider photos shows a successful fisherman posing in front of the Russian River Rendezvous in the mid-1950s. (Photo courtesy of the Mona Painter Collection)
The Disappearing Lodge, Part 2

In late May 1959, officials from the Russian River Rendezvous, Alaska Sportsman’s Association, Inc., made a splashy official announcement in the Anchorage Daily Times

File
Minister’s Message: Who is this man?

Over and over again, they struggle to rightly name who he is and what he’s up to

A still from “Casting Maya,” a film about Ascension Bay on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico is seen in this screenshot. From Pure Films, the short will be one of nine shown at the International Fly Fishing Film Festival on Aug. 10 in Kenai, Alaska. (IF4/flyfilmfest.com)
Anglers’ night out

Annual International Fly Fishing Film Festival returns to Kenai

Candy pecans make a sweet snack to enjoy on excursions. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Road trip reimagined

Candied pecans accompany more subdued wandering

Robert C. Lewis photo courtesy of the Alaska Digital Archives 
Ready to go fishing, a pair of guests pose in front of the Russian River Rendezvous in the early 1940s.
The Disappearing Lodge, Part 1

By the spring of 1931, a new two-story log building — the lodge’s third iteration — stood on the old site, ready for business

Viola Davis stars in “The Woman King.” (Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.)
On the screen: Women reign in latest action flick

‘The Woman King’ is a standout that breaks new ground

Artwork donated for the Harvest Auction hangs at the Kenai Art Center on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Auction, juried show to showcase local talent

Kenai Art Center will host its annual Harvest Auction this weekend, juried art show next month

Sweet and tart cranberry pecan oat bars are photographed. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Cranberries to match the bright colors of fall

Delicious cranberry pecan oat bars are sweet and tart

Most Read