It was a Saturday and Louisa was home from school. It was a cold, rainy morning and The Professor had to do the obligatory weekend stuff which meant me at home alone with Mr. Sickypants and his sister.
Listless and pathetic he wormed his way into my lap and fell asleep. After Louisa had finished her quesadilla (extra cheese) all three of us snuggled up on the couch and watched not one but two movies—a double feature of our own making. While we laid there, my arms surrounding both my children, feeling their little bellies breath in and out, my nose buried in their sweet, soft hair I thought to myself, now this is how I thought motherhood would be.
It kind of made me laugh at the ridiculousness of my childless self and also to vow (once again) to have more patience with my babies. Their loud, uproarious behavior is just them being kids, maybe not the docile ones I thought they’d be, but real-life, healthy kids.
- 2 pounds oxtails
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 3 carrots, cut into coins
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 12 cups water
- 1/2 cup pearl barley
- 3 cherry pepper, stemmed and minced
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups cilantro leaves, minced
- 1 cup parsley leaves, minced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- Generously season oxtails on all sides with salt and pepper then coat with flour.
- Heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Once shimmering, add oxtails (you might have to do this in batches depending on the size of your pot). Cook until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes total, then transfer to a plate.
- Add onion and carrot to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute then add back the oxtail and any remaining juices on the plate. Add the water and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until oxtail is tender, about 3 hours.
- Meanwhile, make the chimichurri. Combine everything but the oil in a medium bowl then slowly add the oil while mixing. Taste and add more salt or vinegar as needed. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- When a sharp knife easily slips into the oxtails add the barley to the soup. Cover and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper then ladle soup into bowls and serve with a generous dollop of chimichurri on top.