My friend Jenn is going to hate this post, but it is my homage to thriftiness.
See, I am a big fan of most forms of offal.... gizzards, liver, heart, tails... all those parts that no one except the very poor used to use. I love them because they are a challenge. They are hard to cook and make them tender and tasty. I am particularly fond of ox tails, which are actually quite hard to find nowadays and, even at the ethnic market, are often more than $3 a pound. But, if you work with them right, they are incredible!
This is what I do:
Get about 1.5 pounds of ox tails. If you can, get the ones that are larger. They get more tender and have more meat and less bone. Sprinkle about 1 Tablespoon of shallot salt (go Penzeys!) over the tails and then brown in a Dutch oven. Add in 2 teaspoons dried Rosemary, 1 Tablespoon of fresh thyme, pepper, and 2 Bay leaves. Stir. Then add 2 cups of crushed tomatoes, 1/2 cup dried chopped leeks, and 1 quart of beef stock. Put in a 325 degree oven and cook until the meat is soft and tender (braising!). I find that 3 hours is usually just fine. I serve my ox tails with baked potatoes and green beans. They are messy to eat, but yummy!