Oxtail Stew is definitely one of my favourites - full of tenderness and flavour. Back when I was a kid, this particular cut of meat was quite inexpensive, and therefore a common appearance on the dinner table. These days however, it has become somewhat of a delicacy - and the price now matches the demand.
Most people I know cook this dish incorrectly - stewing the meat and vegetables, thickening and serving. In my opinion (especially in these heart-conscious times), the dish can be quite "fatty" owing to the large amount of marrow present in the bones...therefore in order to minimise the amount of fat throughout the dish, I turn this dish into a two-day process (see Method below).
3/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
6-8 carrots, sliced
2 cups water
1 cup claret
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 cup celery, sliced
Brown oxtails on all sides and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Add bay leaf, water and wine.
Simmer for 3-4 hours, adding more water if necessary.
At this stage - turn off the pot, place a lid on the top and let the contents cool and place the entire pot into the refrigerator overnight.
The following day, retrieve your pot and remove the lid. You will notice when you look at the contents, that there is a "plate" of fat on the surface of the stew. Carefully lift this out and discard - this ensures that the fat does not get distributed throughout the stew.
Heat the pot once again, until a slow bubble is achieved. Add vegetables and simmer for 20 minutes longer.
Thicken the gravy with flour and water.
Serve immediately with mashed potatoes and fresh peas or beans.
The two-day process, along with the removal of fat, produces the most delicious and tender dish.
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