A recent discussion with @helgeg on app.net about pigs trotter sausages inspired me to see if I could convert some of my family members over to the pleasure of eating offal. I grew up in a house where we ate offal such as oxtail, liver and tongue nearly as often as we ate the better cuts of meat. My mother even prepared ox tongue from scratch — not the sweetest smelling start to a meal but a delicious conclusion.
My own kids (and wife too if I’m honest) are not the best at trying new food that is unusual or comes from the less salubrious parts of a beast. I decided to start my campaign with the oxtail, a dish I’ve rarely cooked. After a couple of experimental runs I finally won over 66% of my victims with the following recipe which serves 4.
- Approximately 2kg of oxtail — if that sounds a lot, remember it’s cheap and there’s not a lot of meat on there.
- 1 large leek, sliced
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 2 sticks of celery, chopped
- Around 500ml stock (I used turkey stock from Christmas)
- 1 large glass port
- ½ a bottle dry white wine
- ½ a jar of pasata tomato sauce
- Cherry tomatoes (around 20)
- 1 Star anise
- 1 blade of mace
- 2 bay leaves
- More chopped root vegetables (e.g. potatoes, carrots and parsnip) as vegetables
- Olive oil
- Trim the excess fat from the oxtail pieces.
- Brown batches of the oxtail in a frying pan and set them aside to drain off.
- Once all the pieces are browned add the chopped leek, carrot and celery to the pan and fry for 5-10 minutes.
- Add the port to the pan and boils this to deglaze the pan.
- Transfer the drained oxtail and vegetables to a large casserole and add the stock, white wine, , pasata, tomatoes, star anise, mace and bay leaves.
- Cover and cook the mixture in the oven at around 150°C (fan) for around 4 hours.
- Add the remaining root vegetables for one hour.
Once the root vegetables have softened and the oxtail falls off the bone easily the meal is ready to serve. That remaining ½ bottle of dry white wine might just come in useful at that point. Apparently serious carnivores like to recover some of the marrow from the oxtail bones at this point — I’ll leave it to you to decide if this is a step too far; it is delicious though!