Spanish oxtails and a Mock dinner service
I am a true believer in everything being a lesson. In culinary school we had a friends and family day. We had to pick a partner to team with and create a menu, and execute it as if it was our own restaurant. I was more than ecstatic. This was my opportunity to prove to myself that I had what it takes to do this.
My teammate and I were the second to last to have our family and friends night. I created the Menu which I thought was brilliant. I put together a soul food Spanish fusion. The night before my “mock restaurant” night I remember running around like a chicken with no head. Trying to get the perfect paper for my menus. The next problem was actually getting someone to print my menu on this paper. It wasn’t regular paper. It was rather large and pretty. I by no means wanted to choose a different paper because well I fell in love with this particular paper. It went very well with the theme.”Bringing the south to Puerto Rico. I found a place that was able to do it. Thank you Kinkos 🙂 ok so I wanted to make sure that everything was perfect. I brought my menus to class that night and asked my chef instructor what he thought. He said they were really nice menus but he felt it was to big. In fact he made a face he didn’t think I saw him make. I was affected because I valued his opinion. How ever I know where my heart was and the vision that I had. Needless to say I kept the menus.
It’s the Big night. Everything in the kitchen was smelling great, my center pieces were amazing! I had fish bowls filled with water and marbles and seashells. Very island like. I was really trying to capture the moment. I wanted my guest to feel like they were in Puerto Rico. Goal achieved. People started to arrive, the food was almost done and it was service time. My partner was responsible for making oxtail. I remember being a little confused. Because I was creating the menu I asked to give me a description of what would be in the ox tail. He said oxtail and that was it. I was very very very confused. I’ve never had oxtail prepared that way. I had to keep reminding myself that I had to work with him because he was my partner. I had to shake it off and let it go. Even though I wanted to control everything I knew that I couldn’t. Dinner service was going well, and people were asking for more food. Normally dinner service lasts about 1 hour and a half. My chef instructor pulled me to the side and said “they are having such a good time they don’t want to leave”.
The food was great, the ambiance was great, conversations were going and everyone was having a good time. I felt SO good on the inside that this was going on, 3 and a half hours later people were still there laughing and just enjoying the moment. Later on in the evening the dinner was winding down and people started asking me if they could have the menu. I’m like huh?! really? so I let the first few have some. Next thing I know Everyone wanted a copy of this gorgeous menu. I was truly in awe. By the end of the night I had 5 menus left out of 35. The chef that told me it was to big even took one, LOL. As for the oxtails well I prefer a more hearty meal. So I add carrots, celery and all of the fixings. That lesson for me was to learn that I can’t do everyone else’s job.Even though I may want to. I am only one person. I needed to learn to let others do the job they were assigned to do.
The other lesson in this whole experience was to never let anyone change what your heart desires. You keep going and pushing until the vision that you have comes to pass. Even if people think other wise. My dinner service that night was the talk for many nights after it happened. I’m not down talking my partner. How ever the people who were there eating wanted more than what they got in their oxtail. So I created a recipe to give him and other people. That was a night for me to remember. I carry that feeling with me. It keeps me motivated. Just knowing that I will get that feeling again when I open my restaurant. I live to feed people. I Love this.
From my kitchen to your belly, let Kandii Komfort you.
Lets take a trip to the market:
1 bundle of cilantro
2 spanish yellow onions -chopped roughly into squares
4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
7 garlic cloves chopped
1 green bell pepper-chopped squares
1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper
3 stalks of celery
3 tomatoes ripe- chopped roughly
2-3 pounds of oxtail or 4 packages depending on where you buy your meat from
3 cups of red sherry wine
2 cups of chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
1 small can of tomato paste
1 tbsp of adobo
freshly made or store bought sofrito
2 bay leaf
sprigs of thyme and rosemary
Season your oxtail with sat and pepper.
Pour 2 tbsp of olive oil in a hot pan (preferably a big sauce pot).
Brown your oxtail a few at a time, until both sides are brown.
*If you add to many oxtail at one time you will no longer be searing them, to many pieces of meat will create water and you will then be steaming them.*
Remove to a dish and repeat until all your meat is browned.
Now add all your veggies onions and peppers, add the garlic last so that it doesn’t burn.
Once your veggies become fragrant remove from pot.
Now add your oxtail, all your veggies, the sherry, tomato paste and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, stir, and cover.
Turn your heat down low to a simmer. Keep stirring every few minutes to be sure it cooks evenly and doesn’t stick to the bottom.
Now sit back and let your food do its thing! Very simple.
If you are cooking this in a sauce pot cook it for 3 hours until the meat is tender. If you are smarter than me lol use a pressure cooker. add everything to the pressure cooker and cook for 1 hour.
You can make white rice with this. I made mashed potatoes instead of adding the potatoes to the oxtail.