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Oxtail Stew - three ways



We do enjoy a good tail at the dairy. Oxtail has a great amount of fat and collagen that melts into a dish as it cooks. It gives a wonderful round texture to sauces and a slightly sticky feel to the meat. It has the bonus taste of bone marrow that will slowly render into the dish, which makes it an excellent cut to use in winter stews. The cut is versatile and can be paired with many varied flavours, but the method of cooking remains reassuringly straightforward no matter what else is added to the pot. Here are three examples - you’ll need a large oven-safe pot with a lid.

 

Serves: 4

Time: 3 hours 45 minutes

 

Italian Oxtail Stew

Jamaican Oxtail Stew

Moroccan Oxtail Stew

Ingredients to go in first

Ingredients to go in first

Ingredients to go in first

1 pack of oxtail, or veal tail

Salt

Olive oil

1 medium onion, finely sliced

A big glug of red wine

1 pack of oxtail, or veal tail

Salt

Olive oil

2 large onions, finely sliced

A splash of red wine (optional)

1 pack of oxtail, or veal tail

Salt

Olive oil

2 large onions, finely sliced

A splash of red wine or sweet vermouth (optional)

Ingredients to go in next

Ingredients to go in next

Ingredients to go in next

200g celery, cut into 5cm batons

1 tsp salt & a good grind of pepper

800g tinned plum tomatoes, chopped

100ml of water

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed

A small thumb of ginger, peeled and minced

1 whole Scotch bonnet, finely chopped

A few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked

6 whole pimento seeds (allspice), crushed

1 tsp curry powder

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tbsp ketchup

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 litre vegetable stock

1 tsp salt & a good grind of pepper

6 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed

2 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp saffron threads

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp ground cardamom

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1/2 tsp chilli flakes

1 litre vegetable stock

1 tsp salt & a good grind of pepper

Ingredients to go in at the end

Ingredients to go in at the end

Ingredients to go in at the end

30g sultanas

30g pine nuts

Salt & pepper, as required to taste

1 can butter beans, rinsed and drained

1 tbsp browning (optional)

Salt & pepper, as required to taste

100g pitted prunes, sliced in half

50g  dried apricots, sliced in half

50g  almonds, chopped

Salt & pepper, as required to taste

Garnish

Garnish

Garnish

Grated dark chocolate or cocoa powder, to taste (optional)

3 spring onions, finely chopped

A handful of coriander, finely chopped

Serve with

Serve with

Serve with

Plain pasta or bread

Rice & Peas

Rice


Method (for all three recipes)

 

Pat the oxtail dry and season with salt. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in an oven-safe pan over medium-high heat and brown the oxtail pieces on all sides. Do this in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan if they don’t all fit in one go. Remove them from the pan then set aside.

 

Preheat the oven to 160°C (140°C fan). Turn the heat down to medium on the hob, and add the chopped onion to the pan with a pinch of salt. Add a splash more oil if required. Fry until they are soft for about 10 minutes. By this time the base of the pan may become quite stuck with burnt-on fat and meat. Add some wine, or stock if you prefer, whilst scrapping the base of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen the stuck-on bits. Allow the liquid to sizzle and reduce until it’s almost evaporated.

 

Once the onions are soft add the ‘ingredients to go in next’, starting with the fresh ingredients – fry them for two minutes with the odd stir; followed by the dry ingredients – fry for one minute and stir. Next, return the oxtail to the pan and add the wet ingredients.

 

Turn up the heat until the stew starts to simmer. Turn the meat, making sure it is covered with sauce. Put the lid on the pot slightly ajar, and place it in the preheated oven for three hours. Every 45 minutes or so, open the oven door (to let the steam escape), and stir the pot.

 

1 hour before the end of cooking time, add all the ‘ingredients to go in at the end’, and give the pot another stir. Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper as required. If the stew looks a little dry, add some water.

 

Once cooked the meat should be incredibly tender and falling from the bone; the sauce, rich and dark. Allow to cool slightly before serving with the sides and garnish. 

 

Tastes even better the next day!


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