Nose to tail eating is sometimes precisely that. I often see people around me infatuated with the buzz words of our time: “organic” “sustainable” “farm to table” “nose to tail” “eco-friendly” “gmo-free”… The list of perceived consciousness could go on forever. But how does one really feel about the offal of an animal who was raised for the purposes of your nourishment? I was speaking to a rancher recently who offered to let me come retrieve the offal of its beef cattle which would otherwise go to the crows. I had to sit and think about all the interesting parts of a cow that were “trash”. One of these was the tail. I have never prepared a tail. Interestingly full of vertebrae and connective tissue, and nearly 2 ft. long, I was honestly a bit intimidated. But I think it is important to use the whole animal in practice, and not just live a “grass fed only” lifestyle. There is so much nourishment to be derived from a cow, and by that, I am withholding steak. So here it is, in all it’s weird cartilaginous, ligamental glory…. and honestly… So. Damn. Delicious.
Beef tail osso buco with roasted winter vegetables and balsamic grits:
Slow roast beef tail or any firm beef roast with heavy salt seasoning for 24 to 48 hours in…. I mean, at least 2 bottles of dry or sweet red wine (not optional. haha) Do this in a slow cooker. This should be fall apart tender at this point. Remove the beef and set aside to rest. chop mire poix and red winter beets and add to liquid until level with it. Add a small can of tomato paste and a half dozen minced cloves of cellar garlic or to your taste. Chop fresh thyme and add with whole sprigs of rosemary to be removed later. Simmer in a slow cooker for another 3-4 hours, or until tender. Cook polenta down with some of the braising liquid and add balsamic vinegar. Add chicken stock until the polenta is soft and creamy. Add cream to enhance the creamy factor if dairy is your thing. return the meat back to the slow cooker to heat through. Serve tail on veggies and polenta.