By Marilyn Michael
We never took the boat out much in the fall and winter and observed a quieting, literally an emptying, of “the dockside neighborhood.” They didn't know what they were missing, we'd think, as we walked past boat after boat sitting empty throughout the colder months. One neighbor we hadn't met walked by one evening and stopped to observe my husband who was standing on the back deck in a snow storm, with martini in hand, monitoring the barbeque. "What are you doing?", he called over. "Barbequing a duck." my husband replied. "You and I are going to very good friends." the guy smiled and walked on.
My husband, passionate about cooking, reveled in his hobby. Morning breakfasts with treats like Szechuan Eggs with Black Forest Ham were amazing. We had two Grover Washington cassettes we played a lot (this was the 1980's) To this day those songs, take me back to sitting on deck with a steaming coffee cup in hand looking out over steel gray water with neighboring boats appearing out of the mist and delicious smells wafting from the galley.
Many times he’d cook all day Saturday challenging himself by doing it all in a large, stainless steel wok on the stovetop. No, he rarely cooked stir-fry in it. He would 'roast' a leg of lamb serving it with a jalapeno jelly sauce, simmer choppinos with fresh northwest fish and shellfish, fix a melt-in-your mouth marinated chicken, cabbage and potato concoction. It was during this time he developed one of our favorite of his dishes, Oxtail Goulash.
HANK'S OXTAIL GOULASH*
Dutch oven or electric frying pan
6 meaty oxtails or lamb shanks (can use beef stew meat, but you will love the richness of the oxtails or lamb.)
1 14.5 oz. can beef consommé
1 14.5 oz. can beef broth
1 to 2 cups red wine
1 bottle of Bloody Mary Mix - split (Mr. T’s is a favored brand)
2 cans of Great Northern beans
1 large onion cut into 1/8’s and separated
Vegetables of choice. (At different times we've used: turnip chunks, slices of Portobello mushrooms, winter squash chunks, fresh green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, Crimini mushrooms, pea pods, baby carrots, Yukon Gold potatoes, rutabagas, parsnips, turnips, and Brussels sprouts.)
Wide noodles for serving.
Boil some wide noodles, coat with a little butter and set aside.
Sear meat briefly. With lid on Dutch oven or electric frying pan, boil the seared meat in the sauce (consommé, water, 1 cup wine, ½ bottle Bloody Mary Mix) for about 15 or 20 minutes on high.
Add vegetables of choice and 1 can Great Northern Beans continue simmering covered on low heat until the meat comes easily off the bone and vegetables are done. Keep adding the rest of the Bloody Mary mix and more wine, if desired, as the meat and vegetables cook.
Oxtails and lamb shanks are rich and they do have grease. Remove the meat and vegetables when done and add a tray of ice cubes to the sauce to degrease. The grease will cling to the ice cubes for easy removal.
Add meat and vegetables back into the sauce with a second can of Great Northern Beans. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
With oxtails, we like the meat left on the bone, but for a dinner party etc. you can remove the meat from the bones and place it back in the sauce.
Serve over wide noodles.
* As this is a blog of interest to Foodies, I'm assuming readers are adventuresome eaters. If you haven't tried oxtails, I highly encourage you to. If they aren't readily available, ask the butcher to bring some in. We always find them fresh at a large Asian Supermarket in Seattle called Uwajimaya.