Saturday, March 19, 2011

My First Oxtail

Susan was my helper for this week's Scandinavian Saturday supper; take a gander at what we served:

Here are more details about (and more photos of) what you see on that plate (as well as dessert, which I have a photo of, too):

oksehale ragu
We used Trina Hahnemann's recipe for oksehale ragu ["oxtail ragout"] to use up the cuts of oxtail still in our freezer from a side of beef that we purchased a while ago.  There were just five small pieces in the package, so Susan bought a sirloin tip roast to prepare along with the oxtail.  She browned the oxtail pieces and the roast in butter and olive oil.  Then, in stages, she added flour, Cabernet Sauvignon, chopped shallots, chopped garlic cloves, fresh rosemary sprigs, bay laves, whole peppercorns, and coarse salt.  She simmered it all in beef stock for most of the afternoon.

When I removed the meat to carve and serve it, I found the roast to be so tender that it just fell apart as I used a serving fork to shred it.  The pieces of oxtail were mostly bone with a lot of fat and a little meat clinging to them; but that meat had an intense beef flavor that made it worth the work to get at it.  And the flavors of the broth permeated all the meat in a subtle way, making the meat not only tender but also delicious.

potet gratinerte med pastinakk og kålrot
We used Andreas Viestad's recipe for potet gratinerte med pastinakk og kålrot ["potato gratin with parsnips and rutabaga"].  I thinly sliced potatoes, parsnips, and a rutabaga and mixed them up in a baking dish with some bay leaves.  Then I mixed together whole milk, heavy cream, pressed garlic cloves, grated nutmeg, salt, freshly ground black pepper, and Gruyère cheese.  I poured the mixture over the vegetable slices and put the pan into the oven to bake.

It took longer to bake than the recipe indicated . . . like, a lot longer.  And even when we did sit to eat, I still wished the vegetables had gotten more done in the oven: soft to the bite in the way that I'm used to scalloped potatoes being.  But the flavors were good, and the presence of parsnips and rutabaga added variety to a dish that could have been just "the same old" sliced potatoes instead.

kål med dill smør og bacon
We used another recipe from Mr. Viestad for this side dish:kål med dillsmør og bacon ["cabbage with dill butter and bacon"].  The recipe calls for Savoy cabbage, but Susan had to substitute Napa cabbage when she discovered that local stores don't sell Savoy.  She quartered lengthwise a large head of cabbage and cooked it in boiling salted water.  I diced and browned bacon to be used as a garnish.  Susan plated the cabbage chunks and topped them with butter, dill weed, and the bacon.

We suspect that Napa cabbage wasn't a suitable substitute for Savoy cabbage in this dish because the result for us was a little waterlogged.  Sure, the dill was a nice touch; but the texture of the cabbage was a bit off-putting (softened and difficult to chew).  At least the bacon was crispy and salty.

rug og mandel småkaker
We used Beatrice Ojakangas' recipe for Swedish ragkåkor ["rye cookies"] but adapted it to become Norwegian rug og mandel småkaker ["rye and almond cookies"].  Susan made the cookie dough out of butter, sugar, rye flour, all-purpose flour, and ice water.  She rolled the dough out in order to press out the ring shapes that she needed before baking them.

When we tasted one of the cookies, we decided that it needed a little something extra . . . so Susan made an almond glaze using powdered sugar and almond extract, and she iced the cookies with that thin frosting.  Verdict?  Much improved.


  1. looks interesting....oxtail? Never heard of it being available to eat!

    You may want to correct this line: "The recipe calls for Savoy cabbage, but Susan had to substitute Napa cabbage when she discovered that local stories don't sell Savoy."....just sayin'.

  2. I have to say, I generally prefer my cabbage in a crunchy coleslaw, and the oxtail was delicious!