A delightfully simple oxtail stew. The only way to spoil this incredibly succulent cut of beef is to not cook it long enough. It should be simmered until the meat comes off the bones with minimal effort.
Ingredients for 4 people
1.5 kg ox tail, cut into 8 pieces
6 cloves of garlic
2 large carrots
3/4 bottle of red wine
50 ml brandy (optional)
300 ml chicken or beef stock
a bouquet garni of thyme, bay and parsley
salt and pepper
Heat 2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a big heavy stew-pan. Put in the pieces of oxtail and fry them, turning, until nice and coloured on all sides, season and remove them from the pan. Replace the fat if it appears burnt. Slice the onions and crush the garlic and gently cook them In the same pan until very soft and well reduced. Slice the carrots and add them to the pan. Cook all this for a few minutes longer.
Return turn the pieces of oxtail to the pan and stir around for a minute or so. Pour over the brandy and set light to it. When the flames have died down, add the red wine and sufficient stock or water to come level with the pieces of oxtail. Put in the bouquet of herbs and cook for 3 to 4 hours until the meat is meltingly tender.
If a thicker sauce is desired, make a beurre manié by mixing a tablespoon of soft butter with the same amount of flour. Whisk little pieces of this into the stew to thicken. This simple oxtail stew takes very kindly to reheating. Simple boiled or mashed potatoes are the ideal accompaniment.