|Sprouts? Yeah, sprouts.|
The original recipe includes gnocchi but my Mum isn't a fan of that, so I served this with a mash of celeriac and potato that had been flavoured with lots of fresh thyme which was itself quite delicious. Just boil equalish quantities of potato and celeriac and mash with lots of butter when cooked. I added 5-6 fronds worth of fresh thyme leaves which gave a nice aromatic taste to the mash and the little green leaves made it look very appealing.
Due to some missing ingredients I had to tweak things a bit, but what I came up with still very nice. This dish, and the brisket chili, that I've blogged about before have really put me off using mince for good. There just isn't any point. It is so much more satisfying to both cook and eat proper meat.
The recipe for the braised oxtail as shown in the book is:
1 oxtail (jointed) - I got mine from Ruby & White, must butchers would be able to supply it if given notice. I've also seen it for sale in Waitrose.
1 celery stick finely chopped
1 onion peeled and finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped (carrot, onion and celery = sofritto)
1 leek, trimmed and finely chopped
1/2 bottle of white wine (I used Chenin Blanc, avoid Sauvignon Blanc as it is too fruity)
1 tablespoon crushed fennel seeds (I didn't have these so used a little star anise)
1 tablespoon crushed juniper berries
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 dried chilli
1 tablespoon tomato puree (I used tommy k)
4 x 400g tins plum tomatoes (a silly amount, I used 1 tin in a dish to feed 3 people)
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
A handful of fresh sage
Salt and pepper
It's worth noting that the original recipe is for 6 people. I'm not convinced by that. I used 1 oxtail and fed 3 people. The oxtail uncooked weighed a little over a kilo, but the meat was less than half that weight. Maybe I made the sauce a lot meatier than it is meant to be, but I'm glad I did.
The cooking is easy. Sear the oxtail in a large pan then add the chopped the veg, turn the heat down and cook till the veg is lightly browned. Then add the wine, spices, tomato puree and tinned tomatoes. Top up with water if necessary to make sure all the meat is covered then put in an oven (150 degrees Celsius) for about 4 hours.
When the meat is beginning to fall off the bone, remove the pan or dish from the oven and shred all the meat off the bones. Then return it to the pot. Add the oregano and simmer to a nice thickness. Serve with fried sage leaves and gnocchi.
Although what I cooked was a slight departure from the original it was still very nice. It may have been better if I'd left the star anise out, which I would next time, but I was still very pleased. As were my missus and my mum - and they can be a tough crowd.
If you are tempted to give this a go then do, it's not difficult and the final dish is as tasty as they come.