This recipe has evolved over the years from an old “Joy of Cooking” version. Better, easier and more healthy.
Begin by browning 3-4 pounds of thawed Oxtail or Soup Bones (pictured) in a skillet w/lard or tallow. Rotate each piece at least twice until browned on meaty surfaces. Transfer to a 5 quart lidded pot , fill to cover w/water and add peppercorns (10-20 each), bay leaves (3-4), and salt( 1-2 tsp). While pot is heating , saute until translucent/beginning to caramelize 1-2 cups coarsely chopped onion. Add onion to pot, bring to simmer, cover and stew for 4 hours. You can either remove bones at this point or leave them in. Meat should separate easily from bone.
When stewing time is up add 1/3 cup quick or medium pearled barley, 16 oz stewed or crushed tomatoes (or 2T tomato paste if you prefer a thicker, more sauce-like broth), 1-2 cups coarsely chopped red cabbage, 3 sliced carrots, 1-2 T dried parsley, and 1 tsp each marjoram, thyme,basil and sage. Bring to a low boil and cook uncovered another 30 minutes or until reduced to desired consistency. Serve w/ course salt and pepper and a good sourdough.
Disclaimer on “foodie” in that it’s prob’ly been overused to the point of meaninglessness but it seems to still possess instant recognition. Paradoxical in that hardly any modern farmers-those folks closest to the origins of the food supply-would call themselves or be considered foodies. Most of them I know consider the Sysco-supplied stuff in the local cafe/ roadhouse or the stuff off the Schwanns truck to be good food. Lots of reasons for this “dumbing down” of the traditional farm table: the specialization of modern farms cuts selection of home-grown foods on hand for cooking; tight profit margins mean the farm wife no longer cooks but instead does shift work at a local manufacturer; aging-out of the remaining farmers mean reduced appetites, fewer children, and less energy.
Been in the food business continuously in one way or another since starting at Pillsbury R&D’s fledgling frozen foods group in 1976 as a process technician. Put together and operated a low-budget, skunk-works pilot plant for process experiments on a new Totino’spizza concept. The engineering came naturally. Learned the basics of cooking , baking and food safety practices from food scientists . Left there in late 80’s- after attaining a mechanical engineering degree and process engineer title- during one of a series of takeovers and downsizing that culminated later in purchase by General Mills.
Went on to Food Engineering, a small fabricator of specialty equipment primarily for the prepared cereal industry. Lots of time spent in vast processing plants starting-up new lines, new products or diagnosing malfunctions. Spent an overnight in a South Korean instant ramen soup plant to get the kimchi drying quality they expected out of a new conveyor-type dryer with 3 temperature zones and 5 conveyor levels that required 6 hours retention time.
Quit engineering to take up beef farming/ranching in ’98 while the kids still young enough (10 and 12) to be excited about the prospect.
Stumbled into low-carb nutrition by the back door after a spring and summer of eating old-timey (fat/flavorful) pork out of their 2 Hampshire-ish sows and a stubby, round, spotted gift- boar. The family bought a half pig from them and ate pork a least 4 times a week , believing pork only had a 6 month freezer life. So much pork to eat we hardly had the appetite for carbs beyond that from vegetables. That fall, at my 30th high school re-union, I was lighter in weight (165 pounds) than any point since high school. Don’t recall exactly how I pieced together cause and effect but I’ve been a low-carb advocate since. Always find reason to regret falling for high glycemicfoods.