Friday, September 14, 2012

Low & slow oxtail stew

A couple of months ago I attended a very interesting butchery demonstration in James Whelan butchers in Avoca, Monkstown. Pat Whelan is a fantastic passionate butcher with superior knowledge and fantastic respect for animals. He said something during the evening which has stuck with me and made me reconsider my approach to meat. Basically he said that these animals we eat were sacrificed for us and deserve to be shown huge respect. Don't dismiss the pieces of meat that might be tougher than the more expensive ones but just learn how to cook with them. When I spotted an oxtail in the butchers yesterday, Pat's words came back to me and I decided to buy it. After a bit of research on the internet it seemed the way to go was low and slow. One of the great advantages of low and slow is the fantastic aroma that emanates from the kitchen, the poor dog is drooling here all morning.

This recipe is quite similar to a stew that I make, very warming and perfect for heating up cold bodies and souls.

You will need;

3lb oxtail, cut into large slices
3tbsp flour
Salt & pepper
3tbsp rapeseed oil
4 carrots, in batons
2 onions, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
2 bay leaves
5 sprigs of thyme
300ml red wine
500ml beef stock
2tbsp tomato purée

Preheat oven to 150 degrees.
Place a large pan on a high heat and add the rapeseed oil.
Coat the oxtail in the flour which has been seasoned with salt & pepper.
Add to the frying pan and turn until all sides are browned, transfer to a casserole dish.
Add the carrots, onions and garlic to the pan with a little more oil if required.
Fry until lightly browned over a low heat.
Add the vegetables to the meat in the casserole dish.
Add the thyme, bay leaves and tomato purée to the casserole dish.
Cover with the red wine and the beef stock and stir.
Place in oven and cook for at least three hours or until the meat is coming away from the bone.

Oxtail is quite a gelatinous meat, this dish is best prepared a day in advance so that the fat can be skimmed off the top of the casserole before reheating.

Absolutely gorgeous served with creamy mash potatoes, fresh peas, root vegetables, braised cabbage or anything else that takes your fancy.

The world of a food blogger is a funny old world. Everything has to be just right with the picture before hitting publish. I have been busy with my blog for the last while so have taken on a photographic assistant to add the finishing touches whom you may spot in the pictures. Thankfully it's an intern role so I only need to provide food and board for her.......

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