Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Oxtail Stew

I bought some oxtail from the farmer's market on Sunday, and turned it into a rather delicious stew. As I was attempting to be both frugal and healthy I served it with a baked potato and some purple sprouting broccoli. For a more decadent meal some buttery mash would be great.

The total cooking time for this is about 3 and a half hours, but for 3 of these hours the stew is sat in the oven minding its own business. There's very little actual effort involved, so it's perfect for a Sunday afternoon.

Here is my recipe. Enough for 2-3 people.

You will need:
800-900g oxtail
1 tbsp flour
1 pint stout
boiling water
6-8 shallots
250g mushrooms 
2 cloves garlic
1 beef stock cube
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tbsp tomato puree
handful fresh thyme, chopped
2 bay leaves
oil (olive, groundnut, sunflower, any will do really)

1. Check the oxtail pieces and clean them if necessary. Set the oven to 160 deg C (320 F or gas mark 3).

2. Coat the oxtail pieces in seasoned flour, then put a knob of butter and a drop of oil in a casserole (or any sort of pot with a lid that's suitable for the hob and oven) over a medium heat on the hob and brown the meat for around 10 minutes.

3. While the meat is browning chop the shallots into chunky pieces, and the garlic finely.

4. When the meat is a nice golden brown remove it from the pot and set aside. Add the shallots to the pan and fry for 10 minutes or so, then add the garlic and fry for another minute.

5. Now return the meat to the pot, give it a stir, turn up the heat and pour in the stout. I used a bottle of Meantime London Stout, because that's the only one they had in individual bottles in the supermarket. A good choice though because it's lovely.

6. Allow it to bubble over a high heat for a minute or two to burn off the alcohol, then add the bay leaves, the thyme, the mustard powder, the stock cube and the tomato puree.

7.  Add about 100ml of boiling water, give it a good stir, put the lid on then put it in the oven.

8. Leave it well alone in the oven for 2 hours. Don't bother checking it, it will be fine.

9. After 2 hours have passed, remove the pot from the oven and take a look. There will probably be a rather substantial layer of oil at the top as a lot of fat will have rendered out of the oxtail. Skim most of this off and discard it. There should still be plenty of liquid left, just starting to thicken a little. Add some more water if it looks too thick. Have a taste, it should be intensely beefy already.

10. Roughly chop the mushrooms, add them to the pot then return it to the oven for another hour.

11. After the hour has elapsed remove from the oven and you should be ready to serve. Skim some more fat off if necessary. The sauce should have thickened to the consistency of a good gravy with all the gelatinous goodness from the oxtail, and the meat should be just starting to fall from the bones in tender shreds. It should taste even beefier.

This was pretty good but would probably have been even better with the addition of carrots and celery with the shallots. I also put the leftovers to very good use by cooking them up with a small pot of leftover chilli con carne from the freezer. Oxtail chilli. Delicious.


PDH said...

Cracking stuff, cracking stout! I do a similar dish wish beef shin that works really well but I try to use Porter where I can just that wee bit sweeter I find!

Unknown said...

This looks amazing!

Dave said...

Pavel - cheers, I saw your shin recipe. Will have to give it a go..

Rach - cheers, it was pretty good.

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