- 2.4 kilogram oxtail
- ⅓ cup plain flour
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large thyme sprig
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 long spirals orange zest
- ¼ cup brandy
- 2 cups red wine
- 12 cloves garlic (peeled)
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes (fresh or canned)
- 1 litre beef or veal stock
- 250 grams tubular pasta (I use macaroni)
- 1 large onion (finely chopped)
- 1 large carrot (cut into 5mm dice)
- 1 celery stalk (diced)
- 3 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
- 1 handful flatleaf parsley leaves
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ orange
- ½ lemon
Oxtail Braised with Red Wine & Orange, with Chunky Pasta is a guest recipe by Stephanie Alexander so we are not able to answer questions regarding this recipe
- Cut away any large chunks of fat from the oxtail but do not remove every scrap of fat. Tip the flour onto a plate, then season with 1 teaspoon salt, grind in some pepper and add the oregano. Mix lightly. Coat each piece of oxtail well with the flour and transfer to a tray. If you have leftover seasoned flour do not discard it.
- Heat half the olive oil in a large heavy-based enamelled casserole over medium heat and brown the chunks of meat. This is a very important part of the process and will take time. Each piece of oxtail has all sorts of curves and bumps and you want it to be browned as thoroughly as possible. Do not crowd the pan, and turn the pieces using strong tongs. As the pieces are well browned remove them from the casserole to the tray and continue until all pieces are browned.
- Remove the casserole from the heat and allow it to cool for 5 minutes. Now tip out any fat remaining, blot the pan with paper towel, and wipe away any tiny bits of burnt flour. Return the pot to the stovetop over medium heat, then add the rest of the olive oil and the herbs, zest and the soffritto. Cook, stirring frequently, for at least 10 minutes until the vegetables are well softened and just starting to colour. Now raise the heat and add the brandy and wine. They should instantly sizzle and bubble up and reduce. Stir well to make sure nothing is sticking.
- Pull the casserole off the heat and arrange the oxtail pieces in it, packing them in with the largest and choicest pieces on the bottom. The small pieces will probably be a second layer, although some might be able to be pushed into spaces between the larger pieces. Scatter over the garlic cloves.
- Preheat the oven to 150°C (130°C fan-forced). Tip the tomato into a bowl and mix with the leftover seasoned flour (there will be no more than a few teaspoonfuls). Add the stock and the tomato to the casserole. The meat should now be just covered with liquid. Crumple a large sheet of baking paper and place it over the contents (this helps reduce evaporation and prevents the top layer becoming at all dry), and cover tightly.
- Transfer the casserole to the oven and cook for 3½ hours. Test the meat with a skewer. The oxtail is ready when the skewer slides through the meat without resistance. It may need longer. Once the oxtail is cooked, allow to cool a little and then, using tongs and a big spoon, carefully remove the meat from the casserole to a deep flameproof baking dish suitable to transfer to the top of the stove and large enough to hold all the meat tightly packed in one layer with enough room for the sauce too. You do not want to allow the meat to slide from the bone at this point.
- Strain the sauce through a colander resting over a deep bowl. Press on the solids in the colander, especially the garlic. Discard the contents of the colander. Refrigerate both the meat, covered tightly, and, separately, the strained sauce. After a few hours (or the next day) remove the fat that will have risen to the surface of the sauce. Taste the sauce for seasoning and intensity. It will reduce further in its final reheat, but if you think the sauce is not thick or strong enough, now is the time to bring it back to a boil over high heat on the stovetop until it reaches the consistency and depth of flavour you wish. Pour or spoon the sauce back over the meat. Refrigerate the baking dish, covered, for up to a day until you intend to proceed to the final step.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced) 1½ hours before you wish to serve. Put the baking dish of meat and sauce, uncovered, into the oven and leave it undisturbed for 1 hour. It should now be bubbling at the edges. And looking shiny and appetising. At this point, dip a spoon into the sauce and check the seasoning. Transfer the baking dish to the top of the stove over very low heat. You just want to keep the sauce simmering. It will reduce a little further also.
- Bring a large saucepan of well-salted water to a boil, and have the measured pasta at the ready (in case you are feeding more people, I allow 60g per person). Cook the pasta for 12–15 minutes. This is not an Italian first course. You are not after al dente pasta. The pasta needs to be cooked thoroughly to be melting and tender when it is served in the sauce.
- Prepare the gremolata while the water is heating. Coarsely chop the parsley, mince the garlic, and grate the zest from the orange and lemon, and mix in a small bowl. (Don’t do this any earlier as the freshness of the gremolata will be lost.)
- Drain the cooked pasta and return it to the empty but still-hot pan. Ladle over some of the oxtail sauce and mix. It should be almost sloppy.
- Serve your oxtail in large, wide hollow plates. I would put three large slices in each bowl and spoon the pasta around. Make sure there is plenty of sauce! Scatter the pasta and the oxtail with the gremolata.
- For the full experience I hope your friends will suck the bones! Large napkins and finger bowls might be an idea.