The below recipe is the simplest, easiest way to braise oxtail. It’s a classic. From there, you’ll be able to shred the meat off the bones, which will leave you with plenty of options. Like a choose-you-own-meat-adventure book, you’ll be able to write your own ending. Do you toss the ragout through some gnocchi? I dunno. Do you serve it over some wet polenta? Your call. You want to knock up a bowl of risotto and spoon over ladles of the sauce? GO FOR IT, BUDDY! Whatever you decide though, be sure to make more oxtail than you need. The stuff tastes even better the next day. My tip is to warm it through and eat it straight out of a bowl, with some gremolata compound butter (that’s really just a fancy way of saying butter, mixed with a few ingredients). While the initial cooking process falls into the “weekend project” category, the leftovers can be used to make a killer meal within minutes. That’s the beauty of it.
Stuff you’ll need: (serves 4, with leftovers for 2).
Enough oil to coat the bottom of a deep, pot
1.5kg oxtail pieces
Flour, for dusting meat.
2 x white onions, roughly chopped
2 x stalks celery, roughly chopped
2 x cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 x medium potatoes, skin left on and roughly chopped
1 x tbsp fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
1 x tbsp fresh thyme
2 x bay leaves
2 x cups FFMM beef stock
2 x cups red wine
What you’ll do:
1. Preheat oven to 140 Degrees Celsius.
2. Spread flour in a wide container and toss the oxtail through, making sure each piece is nicely coated.
3. Heat oil in the pot and add oxtail. Brown for a few minutes (normally 7 - 8 will do) and remove the meat with a slotted spoon.
4. Add the onions, celery, herbs and garlic and cook until softened but barely coloured.
5. Return oxtail to the pan and add beef stock, red wine and any water if necessary. (You want the meat to be covered about two-thirds of the way).
6. Season with sea salt and black pepper and bring the pot to a simmer.
7. Cover the pot and cook in the oven for approximately four hours, or until meat pulls easily from the bones. Add the potatoes halfway through the process.
8. When ready, remove the pot from the oven and allow meat to cool until it is easy to handle.
9. Shred meat from all bones and set aside. Discard bones.
10. Strain sauce into a small pan and set vegetables aside, along with the shredded meat.
11. Cool sauce down, allowing the fat to settle. Skim this off and then bring sauce back to the boil, over medium heat.
12. Reduce the sauce until desired consistency.
13. When ready, return meat and vegetables back to the sauce.
For gremolata butter:
Mix freshly grated lemon zest, minced garlic, freshly chopped parsley and minced anchovies into butter. Serve by toasting sourdough and smearing butter over the bread.