Bento basically refers to a lunch box. Most of us probably have some sort of memories associated with packed lunches (hopefully positive ones). Thanks to mom, mine was almost always tasty. My bento usually consisted of rice, meat or seafood, and vegetables. Then, I got a little box for fruit. If you were to make yourself a bento, what would be in it? I know. Hard question.
Here was mine today, and I think I chose well. If you’ve never tried oxtail stew before, I invite you to try this recipe. It’s easy and tasty!
Oxtail Stew & Edamame Bento
- 1.5lb of oxtails (if you get it from the butcher, ask for oxtails cut into segments)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 cup of red wine
- 1 cup of beef stock
- 2 whole cloves of garlic (peel still on)
- Pinch of thyme
- Half a bay leaf
- Cilantro (optional, for garnish)
- 1/2lb fresh edamame
- 1 tbsp of peanut oil
- 2 dried red chiles
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1/4 tsp of star anise pieces
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 1 cup of chicken broth
- 4 cups of cooked white rice
- Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Season oxtails (make sure oxtails are patted dry) with salt and pepper. Brown meat on all sides in the Dutch oven. Place oxtails on a plate and set aside.
- Turn down heat to medium. Cook chopped onions in oven until browned (about 5 minutes). Add back oxtails, wine, stock, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, and 1/2 tsp of salt.
- Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 3 hours, until meat is tender.
- Skim off fat from the surface or refrigerate overnight and discard fat layer the next day. (If you are reheating the next day, reheat first before proceeding.) Remove oxtails from Dutch oven and cook down liquid by half over medium-high heat. Add back oxtails and let oxtails simmer with thickened sauce for 30 minutes. Serve hot.
- Peel and rinse edamame under cold water, drain and set aside.
- Heat a wok over medium-high heat. Add the oil, swirl it around in the pan and heat until hot. Add chiles and garlic and stir-fry until aromatic (about 30 seconds). Add edamame and star anise and fry for 1 minute.
- Add the salt and broth and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the beans are very tender, about 7 minutes. Serve in bento with oxtail stew and white rice. Garnish with cilantro if desired.