Nothing to be ashamed of when cooking with 'juice of the bones'

features@beaufortgazette.comJanuary 21, 2014 


Many people I know grew up eating -- and enjoying, ahem -- cuts of meat that had more bone to them than actually meat.

Some folks say that those of us who ate this kind of food were on the low end of the totem pole -- and that the "juice of the bones" was the best our parents could provide.

Say what you will, there was nothing so good to me as a pot of fresh neck bones cooked with onions and gravy served over rice.

When I found a recipe for kale with oxtails, I discussed this dish with my husband, telling him I wanted to try it. "Why oxtails?," he said. "Why not smoked neck bones or ham?"

I just wanted to try it. I've never cooked or eaten oxtails before, but many of my friends have told me they're good. I've also wanted to incorporate more kale into my diet, as it's high in Vitamin C.

Making this dish certainly added to my culinary repertoire as I can now say I know how to purchase, cook and use oxtails.

I must admit, though, there is more meat on neck bones than on oxtails.


1 large bunch greens (collards, mustards, turnips or kale may be used)

1 to 1 1/2 pounds oxtails

Prepare oxtails a day ahead. Cover oxtails with water, add a teaspoon of salt if desired. Cook over medium-low heat, about 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Cool and refrigerate overnight.

The next day remove all fat from the oxtails' broth, heat to boiling and add your washed greens.

Cover over medium-low. Cook about 20 to 25 minutes.

Source: "Sharing Family and Friendship: Generation to Generation," by Georgia Redd, of Augusta, Ga. (1995)


1 1/2 pound kale

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup low-fat reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon lite soy sauce

2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Fresh ground pepper to taste

Wash kale, but let the water cling to it. Cut off and discard the tough stems. Slice the leaves once down the middle, then cut them crosswise into 1-inch-wide strips.

In a wok, heat the oil. Add the garlic. Saute for 10 seconds. Add the kale and the broth. Cover and steam for 3 minutes until the kale wilts. Add the soy sauce. Top kale with sesame seeds and fresh ground pepper. Serve.

Source: "Diabetic Meals in 30 minutes-or Less," by Robin Webb, American Diabetes Association (2008)


1 clove garlic, lightly crushed

6 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 pound chicken sausages, casing removed

2-2 1/2 pounds gold or red or white new potatoes, unpeeled, thinly sliced

Salt and ground pepper to taste

1 bunch kale, trimmed and coarsely chopped

2 oz. Monterey jack cheese, shredded

1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rub bottom and sides of a 2- to 2 1/2- quart rectangular baking dish with the garlic, then grease it with about 1/2 tablespoon of the butter.

Crumble sausage into frying pan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until lightly browned, 5-7 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain.

Cut remaining 6 tablespoons of butter into bits. Make a layer of one-third of the potato slices, overlapping slightly, in the bottom and along the sides of the prepared baking dish. Dot with about 1/4 the butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with 1/3 of the crumbled sausage, 1/3 the kale, and 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat layers twice, ending with a layer of cheese. Dot with remaining butter, then pour milk evenly over the top. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil.

Bake until the potatoes are very tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and let stand for about 10 minutes.

To serve, run knife along the sides of the terrine and invert it onto a cutting board. Cut into slices 1 1/2-2 inches thick and transfer to warmed individual plates. Serve immediately.

Source: Williams-Sonoma "Cooking from the Farmers Market" (1999)

Columnist Ervena Faulkner is a Port Royal resident and a retired educator who has always had an interest in food and nutrition. Email her at


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