Oxtail Stew from Cooksister.com

TWICE-COOKED OXTAIL STEW (serves 3)

Ingredients:

1 large oxtail cut into about 9 joints (this should provide 3 substantial, 3 medium and 3 small joints)

1 large white onion, thickly sliced

60ml cooking oil

3 bay leaves

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 large carrots, peeled and chopped into thick rounds

1 stick of celery, roughly chopped

3 whole cloves (or about a teaspoon of ground cloves)

juice of one lemon (I think this was too much– too acidic)

a dash of Worcestershire sauce (I think I used too much)

30ml tomato paste (I think I used too much)

2 cups of beef stock or water

salt and freshly milled black pepper to taste

45ml brandy

Method

In a large heavy-bottomed frying pan, heat about 2/3 of the the oil then brown meat quickly over high heat together with the onion.  On another plate, start warming the rest of the oil in a large stew pot.  I started with the smaller pieces of meat and transfered them to a large stew pot when they were browned.  Add the carrots, celery, bay leaves, garlic, cloves, lemon juice, tomato paste, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Add enough stock (or water) barely to cover the meat.  If you are using stock, you may want to go easy on the salt, but if you are using water the salt will be necessary.

Allow the oxtail to simmer with the lid on over low heat for about four hours.  By this time the liquid will have reduced but not by a great deal.  Remove from the heat, allow to cool, and if possible, put the whole pot in the fridge overnight.  The following day (or even the day after that), remove the pot from the fridge for about an hour to bring it towards room temperature.  Stir in the brandy and put back on the stove at low heat to bring it to the boil.  Allow to simmer for as long as you can – I gave mine another 3 and a half hours!  If desired, you can also add some potatoes about an hour before you want to serve, to make this a complete one-pot meal.  But I chose to leave out the potatoes and served mine on brown rice with steamed broccoli on the side. I also thickened the gravy slightly with thickening granules (less tricky than cornflour!), but that’s a matter of personal preference.

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