Summer Oxtail Stew with Irish Beef
Oxtail stew is very much associated with winter time cooking, for when it is cold and grey outside and you need something calorific and rich. Personally, I think this is a crying shame and whilst the thought of a running an oven all day, in steamy July, may not be everyone's cup of tea, there is always the favourite option of cooking in Speedos and flip flops. You should try it. It's very liberating. Even when it's raining.
Seriously though, there is no reason to not think about oxtail during the summer months and the recipe below is my attempt at creating a broth that is light in structure but still packed full of flavour. Which I have done by using ooomameee packed dashi, over the usual meaty beef stock. And OK, I have lazily used the shop bought variety here. Rather than spending a small amount of time, boiling up some water and plopping some kombu and katsuobusi in, all dainty like. I am just trying to keep the heat out of the kitchen here. But perhaps if you were to do the same, then the broth would be even more effervescent.
To accompany the stew, I simply parboiled and char-grilled some fresh, seasonal vegetables, to add a little BBQ'd nod to proceedings. Not forgetting to mention some citrus zing from the gremolata and some bread to mop up. All in all, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine eating a bowlful of this on a bright, sunlit day. Alfresco and with perhaps some more of that Beaujolais.
Which can also be gently chilled by the way and enjoyed on a sun lounger. Think Ray Winstone and you'll soon get the picture.
This post is a collaboration with Irish Beef and their Summer Beef campaign, featured among 7 other recipes. Check them all out and vote for your favourite* for the chance to win a Weber BBQ. Voting will be open from Monday June 12th to Sunday July 9th.
*Vote for my recipe in other words
Summer Oxtail Stew with Grilled Spring Vegetables and Gremolata - serves four
1.5kgs oxtail, cut into pieces
50gms plain flour
10 round shallots, peeled and trimmed
3 celery sticks, cut into 5cm lengths
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 bouquet garni (made from bay leaf, thyme and rosemary)
500ml Beaujolais wine (or any other light, fruity red)
1.5ltrs dashi stock, shop bought
10gms tomato puree
100gms baby topped carrots, cleaned
100gms British asparagus, trimmed and cleaned (young courgettes would make for a good substitute once the season is over)
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1 small bunch of flat leaf parsley, leaves picked
Salt and pepper, to season
25gm butter, chilled and cubed.
First, heat your oven to 150C and then place a large casserole on the hob over a medium heat and add a splash of oil. Add the shallot and celery and cover, so that they sweat, rather than caramelise.
Whilst the vegetables are gently cooking, dust the oxtail pieces with plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper.
Place a frying pan on the hob, over a medium to high heat and add another splash of oil. Place the pieces into pan and brown all over, working in batches, so that everything does become too crammed. Put the oxtail on a warm plate once done.
By now, the vegetables should be nicely soft and slightly coloured so add two thirds of the chopped garlic and the bouquet garni and turn the heat up a touch. Stir for a minute so that the garlic softens but doesn’t catch and so that the herbs can begin to release their oils and then shake the casserole to distribute evenly.
Pop the oxtail pieces on top of the vegetables and pour in the dashi stock, the red wine and add the tomato puree. Bring to a gentle simmer, cover and then place the casserole into the oven, for 2 and half to 3 hours. Or until the meat is soft and tender.
Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil and blanch the baby carrots for 5 minutes and refresh in a bowl of iced water.
Repeat again with the asparagus but this time only blanch for 2 minutes and refresh in a bowl of iced water.
When the oxtail is ready, remove from the cooking liquor and keep warm. Strain the sauce through a sieve into a saucepan and remove the shallot and celery pieces and keep warm with the oxtail.
Place the saucepan back on the hob, reduce the sauce by two thirds.
Whilst the sauce is thickening, place a griddle pan on the hob over a high heat and put the carrots on with a drizzle of oil. The aim is finish the carrots off and warm through and add some chargrilled flavour and stripes. Once done, slice each carrot in half and keep warm. Repeat the same process with the asparagus
As the carrots and asparagus are grilling, now is the time to mix together your ingredients for the gremolata. So, throw the remaining garlic, parsley and lemon zest into a small bowl and mix together.
To plate up, arrange the oxtail into the centre of a bowl, large and small pieces and place a few of the shallots and celery around the side.
To finish the sauce, quickly whisk in the butter for a bit of sheen and add some of that lemon juice.
Pour the sauce over the oxtail and arrange the chargrilled veg to the side.
Finish by scattering over some of the gremolata over the top and serve with some bread to mop up.