Slow-cooked oxtail

Decided to try making an oxtail stew especially after eyeing the oxtail displayed at the chinese supermarket. I remembered eating an excellent oxtail stew made by one of my friends 8 years ago and it struck a chord with me. Have always wanted to make my own for a while now.

Finally found this oxtail stew recipe in my favourite cookbook – Barrafina: A spanish cookbook. Barrafina is my favourite restaurant in London Soho and I had to always be in the queue 15-30 minutes prior to opening time so that I can get a place as it does not take any reservations.

Barrafina: a spanish cookbook is a cookbook worth getting as the recipes are do-able and ingredients are not too difficult to obtain.

Slow cooked oxtail recipe by Barrafina: a spanish coookbook:


150ml olive oil

1.5kg oxtail

75g plain flour for dusting

4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced

3 large shallots, peeled and finely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1cm dice

2 leeks (white part only), finely chopped

2 sticks of celery, cut into 1cm dice

4 bay leaves, fresh if possible

a small bunch of fresh thyme

maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 bottle of red wine

2 litres of chicken stock

Serves 4:

Heat 3 tablespoon of the oil in a large pan or casserole over a medium heat until almost smoking. Dust the pieces of oxtail in the flour, ensuring they have a fine coating all over. Shake off the excess, then add the oxtail to the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Turn it over and cook for a further 5 minutes, then remove from the oil, drain on kitchen paper and set aside.

Add another 3 tablespoons of oil to the pan. Add the garlic and shallots and cook gently for 2 minutes. Add the carrots, cook for further 2 minutes, then add the leeks and celery and cook for a further minute. Add the bay leaves and thyme and season with salt and pepper.

Pour in the red wine and chicken stock and add the oxtail. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Make a cartouche (a circular sheet of baking parchment with a 3cm hole in the centre that fits the pan and covers the ingredients) and lay it over the meat, then cover the pan with foil and cook for 3 hours over a low heat.

When the time is up, remove the foil and cartouche. Take the pieces of oxtail out of the pan and keep them warm. Skim off the fat from the liquid in the pan, then boil until it has reduced and thickened. Return the oxtail pieces to the pan and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes to thicken the sauce – you should have about 250-350ml left at the end.

Serve the oxtail in bowls, with the sauce poured over.


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