It’s March, so spring is officially here. There is still a thick layer of snow and ice everywhere, even though it’s thawing quickly. Fall and wintertime we often cook stews and soups that can simmer for hours and hours, but spring and summer we focus on different things.
I’m not there yet, mentally. At spring I mean. It’s gray outside, almost Stockholm gray, and the temperatures are above freezing, mostly, but when everything is gray, I can still prepare and enjoy a 12 hour soup.
We pride ourselves on taking care of, using, and cooking with the whole animal, and not just the finer, or more common, parts such as steak, ribeye, filet, etc. One of my favorite meals is slow cooked beef or ox cheek in red wine. The post is in Swedish and can be translated, and it’s really, really worth a try if you haven’t had beef cheeks yet. Trust me! Reach out if you have any questions.
https://www.sustainableliving.se/rodvinsbrasserade-oxkinder/ (<= Link to post ox cheeks)
Today is Sunday, and it’s gray outside. Perfect day for a soup. The soup? Slow cooked oxtail soup with all the root veggies the season has to offer. It simmered for almost 12 hours and the meat is so tender, and the flavors are absolutely bursting.
Hearty, full-bodied, rich, porty (as in flavored with good old Portuguese port), and tender, oh so tender.
I started yesterday midday. Peeled and chopped and julienned cabbage, carrots, beets, onions, parsnip, celeriac, parsley, thyme, rosemary. The kitchen smelled divine from the herbs. I braised the oxtails, and the smoked pork belly, and the veggies and added to the largest pots I had. I had to use two, since I don’t have a large enough one to fit it all.
Adding to my wishlist a REALLY large pot to cook soups, jambalayas, gumbos and stews in. ´Member the Disney movie the Princess and the Frog? Oh how I love that movie. And Ratatouille. I love cooking, can you tell? Anyway, Tatiana inherited her dad’s biggest pot they used to make gumbo in and that’s the kind of pot I want. Big enough so that you can cook to enjoy it together with your neighbors. We tried our own version of a Gumbo way back when, it’s also in Swedish but I can really recommend it.
https://www.sustainableliving.se/new-orleans-gumbo/ (<= Link to post about gumbo)
I remember thinking how I loved cooking with my son at the time, and today when I was removing the meat from the fat and the bone he offered his help!
Slow cooking is like meditation to me. The tranquility provided by the routine movements of peeling, chopping, grating, searing, boiling, stirring, smelling, looking, tasting, smelling, hour after hour, noticing the first subtle changes in the foods. How the toughest cuts of all possible meats can be boiled down to the most tender and soft pieces. How the herbs and spices slowly add different dimensions to the blandest of pieces. To see the fats break down and add even more flavors, and the cartilage and the bones. Oh the bones!
It’s so healthy! If you’re a vegan or vegetarian I really hope I don’t disgust you, but I can assure you, I am in absolute awe of the animal that provides us with this luxury. I make it my life mission to make sure I only eat game and happy, healthy, grass eating, free range, organic animals that have had good lives, and also very important to me – good deaths, without fear or stress.
So, this ox is respected and honored and I have really enjoyed cooking it. And I really, really enjoyed the time spent with my son today during the quite tedious task of deboning the meat. I am not allowed to take pictures anymore but I can tell you he really enjoyed it too.
So anyway, after having carefully taken all meat off the bones we added it back to the soup to simmer some more. When it was time to eat it was magical. Just exactly like I want beef soups or stews to be. Like your favorite blanket on a cold day, or a dog in your lap, and your favorite music playing while watching the rain or snow outside, happy to be inside. A fire.
Warm and soul embracing. All this over a soup. Yes, when it’s more like meditation and wellness and really food for the soul.
My next post will be about sustainable business and entrepreneurship, and the balance of work and play. And in so many cases the combination thereof. I am so proud to be a part of the Swedish Gaming Industry, and the extremely talented and ambitions young people that start their own businesses in gaming.
Until then, ta ta.