Slow Cooker Bacon ‘n’ Oxtails

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I love the idea of eating “nose to tail”.  This recipe really nails it as an intro to the “tail” end, but I haven’t braved up enough to attempt the “nose” portion.  I’ve seen a recipe for pig snout, but there’s way too much ick factor there for me.  I think I’ve warmed up enough to the idea of attempting tongue, but they’re so darn expensive!  $25 for a slab of meat that has most certainly spent a good portion of it’s living existence picking a cow nose really baffles me. I’m not sure who’s driving up the demand for lengua, but I’ve heard it’s pretty good done right. For now though, I’ve just got tail. And I think this might be the best tail in town.

Slow Cooker Bacon ‘n’ Oxtails

Ingredients

Serves: Lots!

2 lbs. bacon ends and pieces

4-5 lbs. oxtails

4 large carrots, peeled and chopped

5 celery stalks, chopped

8 oz. sliced mushrooms

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 tbsp. italian seasoning

salt and pepper to taste

Optional: starch of choice (mashed sweet potato, potato, or parsnip, white rice, etc.)

Crockpot note: This recipe is big! I have to stuff it to fit in my 6-quart crock.

Directions

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, crisp up the bacon ends and pieces.  Remove bacon pieces from the pan to the crockpot using a slotted spatula or spoon.
  2. In batches with tongs, brown the top and bottom of each large oxtail piece, and the sides of the smaller ones, in the reserved bacon fat.  As they brown, remove from skillet and add to crockpot.
  3. Add all the veggies and seasonings to the skillet. Stir to evenly distribute fat and seasonings, and cook until veggies just begin to soften and brown. Top crockpot meat with veggies, put lid on, and set on low for 6-8 hours.
  4. Serve alone like a stew, with a green salad, or atop starch of choice.IMG_0497
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Easy Beets for People Who Don’t Like Beets

Just beet it.

Just beet it.

I’m on a perpetual quest to redeem and elevate the reputation of the most despited vegetables. The ickier they are perceived to be, all the better to experiment with. I’ve had my hits and misses. With the hits, there are no leftovers. Or if there are, I end up picking them out of the pan until there aren’t. With the misses, the leftovers sit sadly neglected in tupperware at the back of the fridge until trash day. Trash day is really a funeral procession for culinary failures.

But back to experiments. Veggies deserve a better reputation. They come in every color, they’re packed with vitamins, and they grow out of the ground.  By themselves! That’s awesome. Not everyone gives them such respect though, particularly not my not-huge-vegetable-fan taste testers.  And they are a discerning group.  A critique of “That wasn’t too bad”, I consider a green light to make the dish again in the future.  If they indicate in any way to have actually enjoyed the dish, it’s basically fit for royalty. This recipe went over pretty well. Not bad for a lowly beet.

Easy Beets for People Who Don’t Like Beets

Serves 4

Ingredients

3 tbsp. butter (I love Organic Valley Cultured Butter)

4 golden beets, peeled and chopped

1 apple, chopped

salt to taste

Directions

  1. Melt butter in pan over medium heat.
  2. Add chopped beets.  Cook in butter, stirring occasionally, until just softened and beginning to brown on edges, 8-10 minutes.
  3. Add chopped apple, season with salt, and stir to incorporate.
  4. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until apple softens, another 5 minutes.
  5. Serve to beet skeptics.  Make sure you have seconds ready for them.