Oxtail is a bony, gelatinous meat, and is usually slow-cooked, often stewed or braised to release its exquisitely rich flavour. Doesn't sound so delicious, right? When cooked properly, it is meltingly tender and flavorful. It is also perfect for soups and stocks but in this recipe (which I love) the oxtail plays the leading role. True story- my 21 year old nephew asked me the other day while eating a bowl of oxtail soup "Where does oxtail come from?" so I explained that it was just the tail of beef cattle. He looked confused for a few minutes and asked again "So why is it named OX tail and not CATTLE tail?" Me, twiddling thumbs: "Maybe the first name sounds better?"
Oxtail in Red Wine (serves 4)
You will need
2lb oxtail, cut into pieces
4 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp all purpose flour
freshly ground black pepper
1 bottle good red wine (whatever you like)
1 cup beef stock
salt to taste
- Wash oxtail well and pat dry with paper towels. Season with salt and black pepper.
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large,heavy saucepan over high heat and when oil is very hot, brown oxtail a few pieces at a time on both sides until they are a deep rich colour. When all the pieces are browned, heat the remaining 2 tbsp oil in same pan. Reduce heat to medium . Add onions, carrots and celery and saute until vegetables are tender, almost caramelized. (Lightly season veg with 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper) Add flour and cook for about 1 minute.
- Add garlic and herbs to the vegetables. Add browned oxtails to the pan. Pour in the wine and beef stock. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer (covered) gently for 3 hours or until the meat is meltingly tender. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.