Sigh. I've just about had it with winter, I think. I'm over it. Yesterday, it snowed all day, freezing my toes and nose and making me fairly miserable. I'm just aching for spring. BUT...freezing weather oustide = the perfect opportunity to make a warming, comforting Filipino dish from my childhood, kare-kare. Kare-kare consists of beef oxtails, simmered until tender, and cooked in a rich peanut sauce with vegetables. I've actually never made it before, but my mom sent me a care package a while ago with a few of these babies:
I've just been waiting for a wintry weekend afternoon.
List of ingredients:
3 lbs. beef oxtails
2 packages Mama Sita's Kare-Kare sauce mix, dissolved in 2 cups broth*
1 tbsp fish sauce
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 lb bok choy
1/2 lb green beans
1 small onion, sliced thin
1/2 lb sliced eggplant
I started out seasoning about 3 lbs of beef oxtails with salt and pepper. Oxtails are wondrous things - they take forever to prepare, but it's time well-spent. The result is tender, incredibly flavorful meat.
I stuck the meat in a pot, covered with water, and brought the pot to a boil. I then reduced the heat to simmer (covered) for about 3 hours.
Just before the meat was finished, I heated 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a separate pot over medium heat. Using my trusty mandoline, I sliced up one small onion, very thin. And for the first time maybe ever, I managed to not slice my fingers!
I then diced up about 8 cloves of garlic, added the onions and garlic to the pot and sauteed for about 10 minutes. As always, I like to cook onions until they are very soft and translucent.
Using tongs (in order to preserve the broth), I removed the oxtails and placed them in the pot with the onions and garlic.
In a separate bowl, I dissolved 2 packages of the Kare-Kare sauce mix in 2 cups of the reserved broth, then added it to the oxtails. I also added about a tablespoon of fish sauce. I like to use Filipino fish sauce, but Thai fish sauce will work in a pinch and is typically more readily available in grocery stores.
I let the sauce thicken for about 10 minutes, then added about 1/2 a pound of sliced eggplant and an equal amount of green beans, cut into 2 inch pieces.
I let the stew cook for another 5 minutes, finally added in about 1/2 a pound of bok choy, sliced into 2 inch pieces.
I covered the pot and let it cook for another 2 minutes, then turned off the heat and let sit another 5 minutes. I usually serve this over rice, with lots of the sauce, but I forgot to buy rice at the store (I was in a hurry to run home and get cooking!).
I thought the meal turned out really well, although I think I'd like to give it another shot from scratch (using peanut butter). In any event, the rich, creamy sauce and melt-in-your-mouth meat did just the trick in warming me through and through!
*Many Asian markets will carry Mama Sita products, and any Filipino market of any worth will definitely carry them. You can also order them online through Amazon.com (click on the link above).