I recently picked up a copy of the Picayune’s Creole Cook Book that was originally published in 1900. It is still a popular title today with its recipes from New Orleans’ past. I thought this would be a perfect way to the end the year – homage to the past as we step into the future!
I used their recipe for Ox Tail a la Bourgeoise (pg 87) as a jumping off point for my own oxtail mushroom barley soup (I hate peas and turnips, so I left them out while adding things I do like). Needing to do some chores outside, I made it in the slow cooker. Also, I added the wine in too batches as some of the flavor (in addition to the alcohol) cooks out over long simmers. Adding a bit more wine before serving lends a brightness to the dish.
Rich, hearty and delicious!
Oxtail Mushroom Barley Soup
1 lb oxtail, disjointed
1 onion, diced (about 1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 ribs celery, diced (about 1 cup)
2 carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
1 lb mushrooms, sliced
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes with liquid
2 cups red wine, divided (I used Cabernet Sauvignon)
4 cups mushroom or beef stock
1 cup pearl barley
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon Cajun/Creole seasoning
Brown oxtail pieces in a skillet before transferring to the slow cooker. Sauté onion in the fat remaining in the bottom of the pan until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add in the celery, carrots and stir to combine. Use a slotted spoon to place veggies into the slow cooker so as to leave some fat in the pan. Put the mushrooms into the skillet. Cook until some of their moisture has been released. Place them into the slow cooker. Pour tomatoes, 1 cup of the red wine and stock into the slow cooker and stir well. Add in seasonings.
Set the slow cooker on high until it comes to a boil. Turn to low and cook for 4 to 6 hours or until barley is soft and tender. Cut any remaining meat off the oxtail and return the meat to the soup with the remaining cup of red wine. Taste for seasonings. Remove bay leaves and serve with bread – I made a batch of fresh corn cornbread to go with (recipe HERE).