I have been away from my kitchen for longer than I care for. Yesterday I had the day off and knew I could dedicate the entire day to dicing, chopping, braising, and filling the house with long awaited aromas and wonders. I wanted home cooking. I needed comfort food.
I went to the supermarket without a list or any idea of what to prepare. I wanted to be inspired. To be spoken to. To be drawn in by something. I found beautiful oxtails. My mind raced. Oxtails braised for hours with wine and vegetables would smell heavenly and once assembled, would simply cook themselves. Sold.
In the aisles of the market I decided to make Braised Italian Oxtails with parsnips, carrots, onions, and celery over herbed cheese polenta. Oxtails are, well, beef tails cut into whatever thickness desired. Waste nothing. Eat the tail. A poor man's osso buco, beef and bone sliced directly across the leg or chin or, in this case, the tail. The bone adds tremendous flavor while the bone marrow adds buttery luciousness and glisten.
Welcome home, sailor.