For a casserole recipe that will warm you up and leave you feeling satisfied, give this slow cooked oxtail a go. It’s rich and full of flavour, but does take a little while to cook so plan ahead.
- 2.5kg oxtail pieces
- 6tbsp seasoned flour
- 4tbsp oil
- 2 large onions, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 4 celery sticks, chopped
- 3tbsp good-quality red wine vinegar
- 75cl bottle red wine
- 500ml strong beef stock (we used 2 Knorr rich beef stock pots)
- 4 fresh bay leaves (or 2 dried)
- peel and juice of 1 orange
- 150g smoked bacon lardons or pancetta cubetti
- 200g button mushrooms
This is best started the day before you want to eat the casserole. Heat the oven to 150C, gas 2. Toss the oxtail lightly in the flour. Heat a large, lidded casserole, add 2tbsp of the oil, and fry the oxtail until browned on all sides. Set aside. Add 1tbsp of oil and gently fry the onions, garlic and celery for a few minutes without colouring. Add any remaining flour to the pan and cook for 2 minutes, then add the vinegar, oxtail, wine, stock, bay, orange peel and juice to the pan, bring to a gentle simmer, stir and put in the oven with a lid on to cook for 3 hours 30 minutes.
The oxtail should be falling off the bone and the sauce will be thick. Allow the casserole to cool completely (overnight in the fridge is best), then skim off the thick layer of fat that will have hardened on top. Half an hour before serving, heat the remaining oil in a frying pan. Cook the lardons until crispy, then cook the mushrooms and add to the oxtail. Bring to the boil then simmer until fully heated through.
If you prefer, you can take the oxtail off the bone once it has fully cooked through. To add extra depth of flavour, add 2 squares of dark chocolate (at least 80% cocoa solids) with the wine. It won’t taste of chocolate but it does add a certain richness!