- 1.6kg (3½lb) oxtail pieces
- 4tbsp seasoned flour
- 3tbsp oil
- 2 large onions, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 4 celery sticks, chopped
- 3tbsp good-quality balsamic vinegar
- pinch sugar
- 75cl bottle red wine
- 400ml (14fl oz) beef stock
- 4 sprigs fresh oregano, 2 left whole and 2 finely chopped
- 3tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
- 150g (5oz) black olives, pitted
- 100g (4oz) sun-blushed tomatoes, drained and patted dry of oil
This is best started the day before you want to eat the casserole. Heat the oven to 140 C, 120 C fan, 275 F, gas 1. 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 the rest of the 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, sugar, oxtail, wine, stock and whole oregano 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 is best), then skim off the thick layer of fat that will have hardened on top and bring to a gentle simmer again on the hob. Add the capers, olives and tomatoes, and cook for a further 30 minutes, scattering with the remaining chopped oregano.