If you consider ‘Nose to Tail’ cooking then this is literally the latter, after this bit there is no more – the tail defines the end of the beast…it’s a full stop!
But unlike its familial cohorts Ox Tail has not experienced the surge in popularity that other ‘Slow Cuts’ have in recent years ie Shanks, Cheeks, Breast (of lamb) etc and I don’t know why…is it because of its anatomical positioning or because of the word ‘tail’!? Whatever your thoughts and feelings on it, it is just as amazing as the other but it is very,very different!
There are a multitude of things you can do with Ox Tail – roast, braise, ragus, pies even curried but there is a ratio of about 60/40 bone/sinew to meat so be aware, one tail will feed only 2 people…just! This recipe is straight up Autumn on a plate, if you do want a little more kick and spice you could follow my Curried Shank recipe and simply swap out the lamb shanks for Ox Tail.
So, where to get it Ox Tail? Well…..not in Supervalu…..all good independent butchers will carry Ox Tail, it will be rare that you have to order them but if you do your butcher not Futcher will get these in for you pretty quickly!
WHAT YOU NEED: serving 2
1 full oxtail trimmed of excess fat (butcher will oblige)
1/2 bottle of quality red wine
1 full bulb of garlic
1tbs plain flour
2 big squirts of tomato puree
500mls chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1 sprig of rosemary
1 large red onion roughly sliced
HOW YOU DO IT:
I’m a sucker for marinading meat but in truth you can get away without this as it’s cooked for an extended period of time – but if you want kick this off the night before by marinading the ox tail in the red wine, garlic, rosemary and bay leaves.
We’re cooking for 3 hours here at a relatively low heat so plan accordingly.
step1: Remove the ox tail, pat dry, season really well then brown really well in a frying pan – remember, the more colour the deeper the flavour and final look.
Step2: In a large, deeep oven proof dish lug in some olive oil then in with the onion and brown well. Next, back in with the Oxtail, tomato puree and flour and cook out on a medium heat for a couple of minutes. Finally add in the marinade and top up with the stock just so as it covers the oxtail by about 1/2 a finger…stick your finger in and check😉
Step3: That’s the hard bit – now lid on the pot and sling into a pre-heated overn at 150 for 3 hours. Like all low and slow cuts you should check, you want the meat to be just falling from the bone….not mush.
Step4: After about 3 hours you shoudl be done, remove the tail pieces and keep warm. At this stage the decision is yours – if you stock is aplenty and quit eliquid you can reduce further, thicken or just use as is – your choice.
Step5: Serve with buttery mash and fresh greens like savoy cabbage or French beans.