Oxtails make fantastic rich unctuous stew, they have marrow and lots of collagen rich connective tissue. Here cooked long and slow with wine and Whisky and served with puréed cauliflower and stir fried kale. I am lucky to have some wonderful friends in Golden Bay that grow beautiful organic beef cattle and also make wicked organic Whisky, so thank you David and Sarah for the gift of your fantastic produce.
One whole oxtail.
1 bottle of wine, here I am using a white Sauvignon Blanc from one of our local wineries Blackenbrook , I would normally use a red wine such as point noir for oxtail stew but as I am also adding Whisky I decided that Sauvignon Blanc was the perfect match. If you are not using Whisky use red wine by all means.
6 small or 3 large onions.
1 large carrot.
2 sticks of celery.
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
A good handful of Rosemary or thyme.
6 cloves of garlic.
1 large bulb of fennel or 2 small.
40ml of Whisky. Optional
8-10 dried anchovies. Optional.
Here we want the vegetables to be part of the sauce so we want to chop them pretty fine so they melt into the sauce. So if you are lazy like me use a food processor, first chop the celery, carrots and onions into largish pieces, then process in batches until chopped finely. Put these all together into a frying pan with a good couple of table spoons of coconut oil and start to fry on a medium heat.
Add a teaspoon of salt and the anchovies if you are using them. Anchovies add a wonderful extra dimension to beef, they melt into the sauce and give a salty depth that is so yummy. Then pull the leaves off the Rosemary or thyme, peel and slice the garlic and add to the vegetable mix.
Next add the the tomato purée cover the pan and continue to cook until everything is soft and cooked through, about 20 minutes.
While the sauce is cooking roast the oxtail. You need a large deep roasting pan or casserole that has a good fitting lid. (Or you could use silver foil for a lid) the oxtail needs to be in one layer. Roast the oxtail uncovered for 20 minutes in a hot oven at 220c until it starts to brown and caramelise a bit.
Then add the cooked vegetable mixture and the bottle of wine to the roasted oxtail, the liquid need to come half way up the oxtail pieces so you may need to add a bit of extra water, it really depends on how big your container is whether you need extra water. Turn the oven down to 170c cover the pan or casserole and put into the oven for four hours. If your lid is not tight fitting then you may need to occasionally check that the liquid still comes half way up the oxtail pieces, if it has evaporated a bit then just add some extra water.
One hour before the end of the cooking time chop the fennel into wedges and push into the stew, re cover and return to the oven for the last hour.After the four hours the sauce will have melted into a thick, rich, sticky sauce the oxtail will be falling from the bones and the fennel will be cooked through. Now is the time to add the Whisky if you are using it, it gives a fire and liveliness to the finished dish. Simply stir it through the sauce, add pepper and extra salt if needed.Here I have served the oxtail stew with a simple butter rich cauliflower purée and stir fried kale. This recipe serves 6-8 people 10-15gms of carbs per serve.