I recently bought some oxtail by accident (it’s vacuum sealed on the same supermarket shelf as the beef hearts I feed my cat). Stuck with something I’d never cooked before I decided to experiment with a casserole which turned out to be delicious!
Oxtail is the name commonly used for cow’s tail. It’s great for using in casseroles as the slow-cooked meat has a wonderful flavour combined with the bone marrow and other properties found in the tail (sounds a bit stomach churning but it honestly tastes really great!).
The consumption of oxtail renders similar health benefits as bone broth which is widely credited for boosting the immune system and digestive health. Oxtail is rich in minerals and slow cooking it releases collagen/gelatin and amino acids including proline, glutamine and arginine that are thought to be particularly beneficial for gut health and integrity.
This recipe might look a bit fiddly but it’s super easy to make and the vegetables I’ve listed are a guide only. Casseroles are designed to tenderise tough cuts of meat and for you to use whatever vegetables and herbs that you have on hand. I’ve seen plenty of oxtail recipes that include thyme – I didn’t have any so didn’t include it but feel free to throw in a couple of sprigs and serve with whichever fresh herbs you like and have on hand. You could also substitute the onions with a leek or two.
- Approx 2 kilos / 4.4lb of oxtail on the bone
- 500ml / 2 cups good quality beef stock/bone broth
- 250ml / 1 cup red wine
- 4 medium sized carrots, roughly chopped into smallish chunks
- 4 sticks celery, chopped
- 2 onions, chopped
- 200g / 7oz mushrooms (I used button mushrooms) cut in halves/quarters depending on size
- 2 finely chopped garlic cloves / teaspoons minced garlic
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 bay leaves
- Bring a heavy based frying pan to a medium to high heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil then “seal” the oxtail (brown lightly on all sides). You will probably have to do this in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Once sealed, place the oxtail in the bottom of the crock pot / slow cooker
- Clean the frying pan, again bring to a medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Fry the onion and garlic for a minute then add the celery and carrot for a couple more minutes until the onion starts to turn translucent
- Add the tomato paste and stir through then add the beef stock / bone broth and red wine for thirty seconds or so and transfer the mixture to the slow cooker / crock pot. Place the bay leaves on top.
- Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours
- Once complete, allow the casserole to cool sufficiently until it’s a reasonable temperature to handle (but not cold or it will set) then using rubber gloves remove the bone, excess fat and cartilage from the casserole
- Reduce the casserole over a low heat on the stove until it’s the desired consistency (around 10-15 minutes). Consume what you wish and freeze the rest in batches.