Oxtail is a cut of beef often misrepresented as inferior in cut and quality, which is not at all the case. I love serving oxtail because my guests are always pleasantly surprised by the tenderness and flavor that so differs from other more expensive beef cuts. Kare-Kare is an oxtail stew flavored with a complex peanut sauce that is both spicy and savory. What I love about Filipino cuisine is its ability to take simple everyday dishes and make them multidimensional with balanced layers of flavors. Serve this stew with fried onion rings for a textural interplay of tender and crispy.
Oxtail in Peanut Sauce (Kare-Kare)
By Jennifer Aranas, Author, The Filipino-American Kitchen
Peanut Sauce: makes 1⁄2 cup (125 ml)
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon miso
1 tablespoon chopped green onion (scallion)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon peeled and chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon sambal ulek
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
1⁄4 cup (50 ml) coconut milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 lbs (900 g) oxtail, cut into 2-in (5-cm) pieces
1⁄4 cup (50 ml) rice wine
5 to 6 cups (11⁄4 to 11⁄2 liters) water
1⁄4 lb (125 g) green beans
1⁄4 lb eggplant (125 g), cut into 1-in (21⁄2-cm) cubes
Make the sauce: Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. Set aside. You can make this peanut sauce ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Make the stew: Heat the oil in a large pot over high heat. When the oil begins to smoke carefully add the oxtail. Sear each side 3 to 4 minutes until all sides are well browned. Add the rice wine to deglaze the pan.
Add the water so that the oxtail is completely covered. Bring to a boil and skim off any foam that rises to the surface.
Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the oxtail for 3 to 31⁄2 hours until the oxtail meat is very tender and easily pulls away from the bone. Add the peanut sauce, green beans, and eggplant. Simmer for another 10 to 12 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Serve with crispy fried onion rings.
Reprinted with the express permission of Tuttle Publishing, a member of the Periplus Publishing Group.