Slow Cooked Oxtail Stew
Prep Time:30 mins, Cook Time: 3 hrs, Total Time: 3 hrs, 30 mins
September 24, 2014
My kids LOVE a stew too, ever since they were teeny weening babies they’ve never turned down a stew or casserole. Interestingly neither are big meat eaters and I rarely cook meat on it’s own, bar a bit of chicken, as they just don’t like or get the chewy texture (apologies to my veggie readers). But give them a slow cooked stew with meltingly tender meat they’ll happily wolf it all down and invariably ask for seconds. They’re also a great vehicle for hiding veggies from those adverse as they tend to melt into unidentifiable form in the gravy. I also regularly add beans and pulses for added healthy bulk.
Jacques’s going through yet another of his veggie renunciation phases, just will not eat them plainly steamed, boiled, roasted or baked. Well not without a good deal of ‘encouragement’ AKA unashamed blackmail to do so anyway. Frustratingly he chows down on all the veggies put before him in his beloved school dinners, and comes home each and every day to tell me all about it. A fact I’ve even had backed up by the lovely dinner ladies! Oh these fickle four year olds are sent to test us aren’t they?. At home I have to employ a little cunning, giving him his veggies in pasta sauce, stir fry, pie, omelette, toastie sandwich, casserole or stew form. All of which he’ll happily eat and never pick out the good stuff from. Annoying. Very. But I’m sure it won’t last for ever.
Oxtail is a newbie to cook with for me and something I’ve been excited about getting my hands on for too long to mention now. So when award winning online butcher Donald Russell got in touch and asked if I’d like to sample their Humble Cuts range I naturally jumped at the chance to trial some out. Oxtail definitely lends itself to a long and gentle slow cooking, and although I was tempted to use my slow cooker I decided to trial my inaugeral recipe out in a casserole in a low oven. After three hours the meat was meltingly falling off the bone and utterly delicious and the resultant gravy as decadently rich and unctuous as a stew can be. Dreamy in fact, especially served with pillows of buttery mash and some plain steamed veggies on the side. I had my Mum and Dad around for Sunday lunch to help sample and along with The Monsters were more than suitably impressed. Never mind seconds, we all had thirds!
And next up in the oxtail trials I’m looking forward to making Oxtail Soup in the slow cooker, here’s hoping I can rival a certain well known tinned version.
Oxtail, Carrots, Onions, Celery
Toddlers, Big Kids, Grown Ups, Family Dinners, Sunday Lunch, Dinner Parties, Autumn, Winter, Slow Cooking
This is a great dish to make in advance as it’s even better eaten the next day.
An oven-proof Le Creuset style lidded casserole dish
Slow Cooked Oxtail Stew
Ingredients Prep Time:30 mins, Cook Time: 3 hrs, Total Time: 3 hrs, 30 mins
1.2kg oxtail, cut into large pieces
2 heaped tablespoons plain seasoned flour
3 tablespoons rapeseed or olive oil
2 onions, large dice
3 carrots, peeled, thickly sliced
2 celery sticks, sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato puree
400ml red wine
500ml rich beef stock (I use Knorr ‘Rich Beef’ stock pots)
1 teaspoon Marmite
1 heaped tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
2 bay leaves
1 very generous pinch black pepper
1) Toss the oxtail pieces in the seasoned flour.
2) Heat half the oil in a large Le Creuset style oven-proof casserole dish and add the oxtail. Brown the oxtail until dark brown on all sides, this will take at least ten minutes. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.
3) Preheat your oven to 150°c / 130°c fan / gas mark 2.
4) Pour the rest of the oil into the same pan together with the onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Stirring every now and again let the veggies cook for about ten minutes until softened.
5) Tip the oxtail back into the pan together with all the other ingredients. Stir well and bring to a simmer.
6) Place the lid on the pan and put in your preheated oven. Leave the stew to cook for about three hours, checking once or twice during this time and giving everything a good stir. If it looks a little dry stir in a splash of water or more stock.
7) The stew’s ready when the meat’s starting to fall off the bone.
Serve with a mound of buttery mash and steamed green veggies.