This inexpensive cut of Beef is packed with flavour and slow-cooking opportunities. Similar to a ‘boeuf bourguignonne’ (French beef stew), this braised dish uses the combination of garden herbs and sweet wine to compliment the rich flavours of Oxtail. This showcasing dish offers deep flavours distinct enough to create an unforgettable dining experience.
•150g (5oz) dried haricot/navy beans
•1.5kg (3lbs) oxtail, segmented
•flour, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
•30ml (2 tbsp) vegetable oil
•12 shallots, peeled
•4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
•250ml (1 cup) red wine
•500ml (2 cups) beef broth/stock
•60ml (4 tbsp) tomato purée
•250ml (1 cup) boiling-hot water
•45ml (3 tbsp) brown sugar
•1 bay leaf
•2.5ml (1/2 tsp) dried thyme
•2.5ml (1/2 tsp) teaspoon dried sweet basil
•2.5ml (1/2 tsp) teaspoon dried parsley
Soak your choice of beans in water overnight.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
Carefully trim the excess fat from the oxtail before cooking.
Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed ovenproof pan over a medium flame. Dust the oxtail in seasoned flour, then add to the pan and colour until golden brown on all sides. Add the shallots, garlic, wine, and beef stock.
Mix the tomato purée with the boiled water. Add the sugar to the tomato mixture to neutralise the acidity. Give it a good stir to remove all lumps and add tomato mixture to the oxtail.
Rinse the soaked beans thoroughly under running water and add to the meat. Add your choice of garden herbs if desired.
Bring the oxtail to a simmer and braise in the preheated oven. After 1 hour lower the heat to 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2 and braise for a further 2 hours.
For best results, switch off the oven and let it cool down overnight. When it’s cooled, place the pot in the fridge to marinate further. After it has been reheated, don’t forget to remove the bay leaf.
To make the dish more substantial, add even more beans and boiled vegetables to the mix, but make sure to add more stock to it to compensate. Just keep checking liquid levels during cooking and top up with water where necessary.
If you want the absolute best flavour, match the fattiness of your beef with the wine. As Oxtail is high in fat content, look out for wine high in tannin. Looking for non-alcoholic alternatives to red wine? Use unsweetened red grape or cranberry juice. Both reasonably similar to the tastes of red wine, the juices will also add a sweet, fruity flavour.