There's nothing quite as comforting as a bit of oxtail in the winter. Unlike many old-fashioned cuts of meats, oxtail has never really gone out of fashion, and is still available at most butchers. Cooked slowly in a stew or a soup, this meat has a lovely flavour. Children enjoy having a good chew around the bones, so usual table manners can give way to the enjoyment of munching and sucking. The good news is that when they're cooked slowly, bones are very nutritious. They're rich in calcium, magnesium and zinc, which - when released through slow-cooking - are in a form that's easily absorbed by the body. The cartilage and tendons contain chondroitin and glucosamine, which are sold as supplements to ease arthritis and joint pain. So one pot of oxtail is more than a meal - it's a tonic.
|1 tsp||Mustard powder|
|1 to taste||Salt & freshly ground pepper|
|1 kg||Oxtail pieces|
|1 Tbsp||Butter, or lard|
|2||Carrots, peeled and chopped|
|2||Onions, peeled and chopped|
|2 sticks||Celery, chopped|
|2 cloves||Garlic, minced|
|3 pieces||Orange rinds|
|2 cups||Red wine, the stronger the flavour the better|
- Combine flour, mustard powder and salt and pepper.
- Trim any large pieces of fat off the meat then toss it in the flour mixture.
- Get a metal roasting dish or casserole dish and melt butter or lard over the element.
- Brown the pieces of oxtail, then take off the heat and add carrots, onions, celery and garlic and sautee.
- Throw in bay leaves and orange rind, then pour in the red wine.
- Cover with a lid or tinfoil and put in the oven at 160 degC for two hours, by which time the meat should be soft and gooey. If there's still quite a lot of liquid, remove the lid and return the pot to the element, on a medium heat, so it thickens up. Serve with mashed potato or kumara.
Note: For a spicier taste, add ½ tsp of cayenne pepper to the flour mixture and a couple of chopped fresh chillis just before you put the dish in the oven. Some say the flavours improve the next day. You can also skim off any fat that hardens on the top.