What’s For Dinner?
E.T.'s Old-Fashioned Oxtails and Rice
(First star is lowest, fourth star is highest)
Southern Recipe Restoration Project
The contributor: Catherine Anderson, an administrative assistant in the aerospace industry, who lives in Redmond, Wash.
The story: Anderson was an Army brat growing up but was never far from her Georgia roots. Her mother saw to that -- especially at the dinner table. Besides loading up on grits and cornmeal at the commissary, she'd often go to great lengths to procure ingredients that tasted of home.
Anderson attended Fort Valley State University and then landed a high school teaching job in Montezuma, in Middle Georgia. While there, she got another lesson in Southern cooking from E.T. Hosley, with whom she has remained friends.
"He had a knack for throwing together simple ingredients in one pot, and turning it into something really good. Like oxtails and rice. I had never had it before, and I loved it. When I moved to Washington, I called and asked him for the recipe, and it's still one of my favorite comfort foods." -- Susan Puckett
Cooking teacher and local chef Virginia Willis tested and tweaked the original recipe just slightly for a casual, rib-sticking meal.
Hands on time: 30 minutes Total time: 3 hours Serves: 6
3 pounds oxtails, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons garlic powder
Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
1 large onion, sliced
8 cups (2 quarts) homemade chicken stock, reduced-fat low-sodium chicken broth, or water, more if needed
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, crushed or quartered
1 cup long-grain rice
Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add seasoned oxtails and chicken stock to cover. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is falling from the bone, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Add tomatoes and rice and stir to combine. Season again with salt and pepper --- the rice needs about 1 teaspoon of salt. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. As the rice is cooking, the meat will continue to fall away from the bone. Remove any cleaned bones as the oxtails and rice are cooking. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
You, too, can share an old family recipe and honor a loved one: Go to ajc.com/food, and under Recipe Restoration Project click on Submit Yours and fill out the form. Or e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or mail it to Southern Recipe Restoration Project, c/o Food Editor Jamila Robinson, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 72 Marietta St. N.W., Atlanta, GA 30303.