The Mocotó stew

The mocotó is another great example of a traditional dish from the Brazilian cuisine; it is comforting food that goes well with colder weather. In portuguese, calf's foot is known as mão-de-vaca; the brazilian word "mocotó" was borrowed from the Tupi Guarani indigenous language.

The dish was created by and for slaves, because the legs were parts of the ox which were disliked by the upper classes; but culinary art's history as we have seen with feijoada, it is often the case that less noble meat cuts that become prized and sought-after. Do not be worry, preparing this dish is not very difficult, but it will require some planning ahead as it takes a little time: the resulting meal will be quite worth it!

The quicker modern alternative is using the pressure cooker, and cooking it for an hour if you want very tender meat or forty minutes if you like a bit more bite. Once cooked you add the seasoning for the second stage of the recipe.








Yield: 6-8 servings
Preparation:
Refrigerate: overnight
Cooking:
Total time:

The homemade Mocotó stew


* 2.2 lb. (1 kg) red tomatoes skin peeled and seeds removed
* 1 onion, finely chopped
* 2 mocotó (calves' feet or oxtail - have your butcher slice them in small pieces)
* 2 tablespoons oil
* 2 tablespoons tomato paste
* 2 bay leaves
* 3 cloves crushed garlic
* freshy ground black pepper,
* Fresh cilantro leaves, (coriander)
* parsley, chives and salt to taste
Procedure:

1) Clean the mocotó pieces, then cook for 50 minutes in the pressure cooker with plenty of water; after this time if the meat is not easily coming off the bones, add more water and go back to cooking for another five minutes in pressure cooker. When well done, remove from pan, put aside with the resulting broth in a bowl, in the refrigerator.

2) The next day, remove the hardened fat that has formed on the surface. Strain the broth and let stand for a few hours at room temperature, this will provide us our mocotó broth. Carefully discard all the bones (do not forget any bones in the recipe!), and cut down the bigger pieces of meat to smaller pieces.

3) Pour the oil in a skillet, then cook the onion and the garlic for a few minutes. Add the bay leaf, salt, tomato paste and the chopped tomatoes.

4) Fry a little bit, then put the mocotó meat in. Season with salt and pepper to taste, cook again for a few minutes then add the broth we reserved in step 2. Leave to simmer until the sauce thickens. Stir from time to time, scraping the bottom of the pot. When ready, adjust seasonings, add parsley, black pepper and chopped chives. Serve each plate with fresh cilantro leaves on top...

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