A hearty winter's meal, Braised oxtail takes a long time to cook, so be sure to prepare well in advance. As oxtail is rather fatty it is a good idea to cook this dish the day before; when completely cold, skim off the surplus fat, then reheat and add the beurre manie for serving.
25 g (1 oz) dripping or lard
2 large onions, peeled and sliced
1 oxtail, chopped into pieces
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 head of celery, scrubbed and chopped
1 turnip or swede, peeled and chopped
6 black peppercorns, crushed
1 bay leaf
150 ml (1/4 pint) red wine or port (optional)
Beurre manie, made with 50 g (2 oz) butter mixed with 25 g (1 oz) flour
Freshly chopped parsley to finish
1. Melt the dripping or lard in a large saucepan. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes or until golden. Put in the oxtail and brown quickly on all sides over high heat.
2. Add the remaining vegetables and seasonings and cover with water. Stir in the red wine or port, if using. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring constantly, then skim off any scum with a slotted spoon.
3. Lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer gently for 3 to 4 hours or until the oxtail is tender and the meat falling off the bones, adding more water if the liquid level becomes low.
4. Discard the bay leaf. Add the beurre manie, in small pieces, and simmer, stirring constantly, until the sauce has thickened. Adjust seasoning, stir in plenty of parsley and serve with boiled or creamed potatoes.
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