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Collagen thickened oxtail stew (or how to wash your soup) and braised beef tendon

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A soup made with a high collagen content is rich and silky, and thick enough that you won't need to add any starches. The reason I decided to do the beef tendon and oxtail together is so that I can make an initial pot of stock while softening the beef tendon, then use it in the stew. Oxtail by itself has a nice amount of collagen, but starting out with stock from the beef tendon makes this stew a solid at room temperature.

The funniest thing is that I keep seeing these "collagen supplements" in the store, and wonder: "Why bother?" Why bother indeed when that stuff comes with meat? In fact, the BEST sources of collagen is in the "gristle", you know, the stuff that PEOPLE THROW OUT when they cook? And then they buy it in little pills for ridiculous sums? WTF?  Anyways, I don't know if eating collagen will really do all those wonderful things the hype claims, but I can promise that there's nothing like eating a rich, silky-smooth stew while watching the snow fall (and thinking very hard about not having to shovel later)

My instructable will kinda flip between the two recipes to show how everything is timed; but I will put the full list of ingredients and how everything is done at the beginning.  Please don't use this recipe as a bible though, I tend to be whimsical while cooking, and will adjust the taste -often- during the cooking process.  Typically, I would grab enough veggies to seem about right, and have some left over for my next endeavor.

 
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firefly683 years ago
This sounds so good! I have never seen beef tendon for sale anywhere, but I see oxtails now and then. I have some stew meat in the freezer, so I guess I will make it with that; the seasonings are too good to not try. Normally I brown it first but I should not do that, right? Thanks orelalaith!
orelalaith (author)  firefly683 years ago
I am so glad you liked it!
The flavor of this stew comes from being REALLY stupidly dense. Using stew meats should be fine for that. However, without the collagen from the oxtail (or beef tendon), the liquid would probably be a little on the thin side. I suggest that you use the standard potato so that there's some starch to thicken the stew instead of "some random tuber". Be REALLY careful while stirring it with the potatoes though, I found that they tend to disintegrate when the stew is really thick and you stir too much. (You also wouldn't be able to rinse it out to remove the fats.)

I find that when you super-slow cook meats the final texture and flavor is about the same whether or not you brown them ahead of time, but it DOES tend to look a little nicer. I am very lazy, so I skipped that step. :)

Hmmm, do you have an actual butcher around where you are? They usually have it, but they don't put it in the front display (apparently, people buy it to make doggie treats). I've also seen both for sale at whole foods (well hidden, usually frozen and behind the stew bones). If you have a chinatown or some place where there plenty of thailand or malaysians, you should be able to find it in the grocer's too- oxtail broth is what gives pho and other noodle soups their texture.