In terms of comfort food you have to go a long way to beat oxtail. It is an awesome cut of meat when cooked properly and this recipe is unbelievably easy. The thing about oxtail is you want to make sure you get the best quality you can. Get it from a butcher who knows what he is doing and cook it for as long as possible. If you follow this recipe the meat will fall off the bone and taste sensational.
Stuff you'll need to feed 6 people:
- A large oxtail, cut into joints
- Flour for dusting
- Mustard powder
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- A few carrots, roughly chopped
- 2 leeks, roughly chopped
- Some celery, roughly chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- A handful of cherry tomatoes
- 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
- A punnet of mushrooms (I went with shitake. Any will do but try not to use button mushrooms. They are so boring)
- 4 bay leaves
- A few sprigs of thyme
- 750 ml of red wine (Use a good wine, something you would love to drink.)
- 8 potatoes, halved and skinned
- Two handfuls of baby spinach
- Parsley, chopped. For garnish
- Two heaped tablespoons of wholegrain mustard
What to do:
1. Add some mustard powder to the flour and dust the meat.
2. Set the oven to 150 degrees celsius, allowing for three hours of cooking. If you have time, set it for lower and cook for longer. In a large, heavy-based pot add some olive oil and brown the meat in batches. Take your time and don't overcrowd the pan or the meat will start stewing. Remove the meat and set aside.
3. Add the onion, celery and carrot to the pot and cook for a few minutes. Add the garlic and mushrooms. After a few minutes add the thyme and bay leaves along with the oxtail. Give it a good stir and add the tinned tomatoes and fresh tomatoes. Pour in the red wine. The liquid should cover the meat. If it is too little, add some water.
4. Bring briefly to the boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer and season well with salt and pepper. Put the lid on the pot and put in the oven. Do not be tempted to check it too often or stir it. Just chill and allow the meat to gently cook in the amazing flavours you have created. After 2 hours have a look if you have to and adjust your seasoning. The oxtail will be ready to serve after 3 hours, but as I said leave it even longer and reduce the heat to about 120 degrees celsius if you have time.
5. When you are getting near serving, boil the potatoes in salted water until they are soft. Mash them up, add some milk and stir in the mustard.
6. 10 minutes before serving remove the pot from the oven. Wait 5 minutes and stir in the spinach. Spoon the mashed potatoes into bowls and place the meat and vegetables on top with plenty of sauce. Garnish with chopped parsley.
This meal is perfect for a dinner party when you can prepare everything way in advance. It's dead easy but looks impressive. Give it a shot.