Recipe: Mama’s Oxtail Caldereta

by Charlene Lopez Young of The Fattened Caf

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click to enlarge Charlene Lopez Young and Darren Young.
Charlene Lopez Young and Darren Young.

My family eats this over steamed jasmine rice, but when I’m too lazy to make rice (well, too lazy to wash rice), I eat this with a slice of toasted sourdough bread or some sort of buttered rustic bread. It’s so good! My favorite is when I get a scoop that has chorizo, oxtail meat and a black olive. It’s the perfect bite. I crave this dish every holiday season. I picture my mom standing by the stove with her favorite Dutch oven in her zone taking a peek into the pot. I still beg her to make this dish whenever she’s in town for a visit. It tastes like love and comfort in the same bite. It’s the smell of home and the smell of the holidays in one whiff.

4 lbs oxtails
1 whole garlic, minced 
(or more, you can never have too much garlic)
1 large yellow onion, minced
½ tbsp olive oil
2 packs of the Spanish chorizo Bilbao, sliced 
(I add more of this because I love it)
4 cup beef broth
6 bay leaves
5 Roma tomatoes (cut into wedges, seeds removed)
1/2 tbsp ground pepper
2 cups tomato sauce
3 medium potatoes, quartered
2 carrots, cut into wedges
1 1/2 small cans liver spread
1/2 cup green olives, pitted
1/2 cup black olives, whole
1/2 cup olive juice
1 medium red bell pepper and 
1 yellow bell pepper, 
cut into strips 1/4 cup fish sauce
Salt to taste

Salt oxtails enough to lightly cover meat. Set aside. Sauté garlic and onions with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the chorizo Bilbao and stir. Add oxtails and sear till brown. Take out the Bilbao and set aside. Add in beef broth, bay leaves, tomatoes and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil. My mom’s secret to tender oxtail caldereta is adding two metal spoons into the pot. I don’t ask questions — I just know it works! It’s like magic.

Once boiling, set temp to low heat and let simmer for three hours. Continue to check on the oxtails every hour and be sure to remove any of the scum that has floated up or left the meat. Add more broth a cup at a time to prevent the dish from drying up. If it’s drying up fast, lower the temperature.

Add in the tomato sauce. Stir it up for a bit. Add carrots and potatoes. Put lid back on and cook for another 45 minutes on low. Add in liver spread, the seared Bilbao, green and black olives, olive juice, fish sauce and stir gently. Stir until the liver spread is completely mixed into the sauce. The sauce should be thicker at this point. If it isn’t, turn your heat up a little bit.

Add in the bell peppers. Cook for another five minutes.

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