Oxtail stew is one of the heartiest meals you can have on your menu. It makes you feel all warm and satisfied inside – the type of heavenly combination of ingredients and flavour to earn the rare label of soul food.
To make the most of oxtail, you want to get the meat to its deepest, richest and most satisfying flavour, all meltingly tender and succulent. This requires you to cook it long and slow, because you can’t rush perfection when it comes to getting food just right.
Once served, the natural fattiness of oxtail makes it quite rich, so it’s always best to pair the meat with a good vegetable mix with rice or, even better, mashed potatoes. You will wan’t to soak up every last drop of sauce here.
Although this recipe has a minimum prep time, once it’s in the pot, the oven does all the hard work for you. So it can be ready to go long in advance and served later straight from the oven. It’s a perfect winter standby when you want something a little heartier than a soup.
Interestingly, the ox tail cut was once considered worthless off-cuts that were given away by the butcher when you bought your weekly supplies. These days, it’s deservingly become a sought-after cut of meat and, of course, with popularity comes demand followed by price.
It’s not something you’ll make every day so it’s absolutely worth paying that bit extra to enjoy this wonderful meal when the time comes.
- 1 kg oxtail pieces cut into joints
- 400 ml beef stock
- 5 tbsp Brandy
- 225 ml dry red wine
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 1 sprig parsley
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F
- Heat the oil in a heavy-based pot and brown the oxtail sections
- Heat the brandy and add to the meat
- Flame the brandy
- Add the red wine after the flames have died down
- Cook rapidly for 2 minutes
- Add just enough stock to cover the oxtail
- Tie the herbs and garlic in a muslin bag and add the meat
- Cover with a lid and bake in the oven for three hours
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little
- Remove the excess fat gathered on the top
- Cook on top of the stove for a further hour
- The meat should be tender and pull away from the bone
- Serve hot with leafy green vegetables, together with rice or mashed potatoes
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