Oxtail Stew.

I have never cooked oxtail before but have always been tempted by its cheapness. Not always easy to find so when I saw some in a local supermarket I thought I would give it a try.

I adapted a recipe from Nigel Slater’s ” Appetite.”  Nigel- yes I feel I am on first name terms with him, along with Delia- is my favourite cookery writer as he always gives you the freedom to adapt and improvise. If you feel worried about deviating from a recipe, I recommend that you start with Nigel Slater’s ” Real Fast Food” which gives you plenty of great ideas but also lots of freedom to swop ingredients.

This dish though is not fast food- it’s a no faff, easy to assemble slow food for the slow cooker.

My adaptation then goes as follows:

560grams of oxtail. Basically, that is all they had. Should do for 2 though…

2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped,

4 shallots, peeled but left whole. Nigel says an onion or 2, but I like shallots in stews and I had 4 left over,

flour, enough to dust the oxtail. To this I added black pepper, cayenne pepper and celery salt. My partner does not like the texture of celery- which is an ingredient in the original recipe- but I did not want to forego the taste,

2 cloves of garlic,

Juniper berries- about 6- lightly crushed with the back of a knife,

3/4 bay leaves, torn to release more flavour.

Red wine.

1) Toss the oxtail pieces in the flavoured flour then add to a medium hot frying pan with a little oil. Brown the meat on all sides.

2) When the meat is browned, add the carrots, shallots and garlic for a minute or so, until the shallots begin to brown.

3) Add everything to a slow cooker, making sure that you pour in any juices.

4) Add the bay leaves and juniper berries and enough wine to about 1/2 way up.

5) Turn on the slow cooker- high or low; it depends how much time you have.

Don’t be tempted to add more liquid- you don’t need much in a slow cooker. It will be cooked when the meat is falling off the bones, the fat is melted and the marrow comes out from the bones.

Is it good? Don’t know yet! We may have it tonight or allow it to develop further flavours over night. I’ll let you know. If you have any oxtail recipes- or recipes for other cheap cuts of meat- please add comments or links…

Update: Left it overnight and heated up . Should have put in fridge overnight and taken some fat off. Otherwise? Excellent….Will be putting left over sauce in fridge, skimming off fat and freezing as a sauce or basis for soup.


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2 responses to “Oxtail Stew.”

  1. Kavey says :

    Waitrose offers oxtail from the meat counter but it’s more per kilo than the ox cheek, and given that it contains bones, whereas the cheek doesn’t, I always go for the cheek. The cheeks have already been trimmed, but if there are any scraps of membrane remaining, the butcher removes them for me before weighing.

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