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Oxtail Casserole

ingredients

serves 4
3 lb (1.35 kg) oxtail, chopped into pieces
1 tbsp sunflower or groundnut (peanut) oil
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
2 3/4 cups (21 fl oz) 600 ml good full-bodied red wine or brown ale (dark ale)
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
zest of 1/2 orange
1 bay leaf
4 crushed juniper berries
1-2 tsp potato flour or cornflour
1 tsp Demerara (raw) sugar
1 tbsp cognac or whisky
salt
pepper

method

1. Trim as much excess fat as possible from the pieces of oxtail then brown them all over in the oil.

2. Remove and put to one side while you lightly brown the onion, then add the garlic without letting it brown. Pour on a little wine or ale and scrape up any browned bits sticking to the pan. Stir in the mustard and add the orange zest, bay leaf and juniper berries. Return the oxtail to the pan, pour on the remaining liquid, bring to the boil, skim, cover and barely simmer for 3-4 hours.

3. Remove the oxtail from the sauce. Cool it rapidly, cover and refrigerate overnight. Do the same with the sauce, sieving it first.

4. Next day, lift off and discard from the sauce the fat, which will have solidified in a layer on the top. Remove the meat from the bone. Put meat and sauce together into a saucepan and reheat gently.

5. Mix the flour with a little water and stir it into the sauce together with a sprinkling of sugar, the spirit and seasoning to taste.

6. Make sure the meat is thoroughly reheated and serve piping hot. Dumplings, rice or broad noodles are just the thing with oxtail stew, but mashed potatoes are very good with it too.

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