This recipe is a classic ragu, traditionally a very simple dish, featuring slow cooked meat with a sauce based on either a broth, milk or in this case tomato. As usual when slow cooking any meat the correct cut is paramount, we need the right amount of gelatinous fat to keep it from drying out during the long cooking process. Fats keep meat from drying out, liquids don’t. Gelatine is predominantly found in the cuts that do the most work, for example on cattle the best cuts would be shin, cheek, tail as they do the most moving, followed by brisket, blade and skirt etc that do less work but have a healthy (?!) amount of marbling fat within them to essentially do the job we’re after!
A really easy recipe that requires little effort which, quite frankly is my kind of cooking! It is just a case of browning the meat in a pan, deglazing with a bit of wine, simmering the tomatoes, garlic etc, then chucking in the oven for as long as you can stand (warning: it will smell amazing) 3-5 hours should be ok, or until it comes away from the bone easily. Stir in some fresh parsley and blanched pasta. Job done.
Recipe: Ox Tail Ragu.
- 2kg Ox tail cut into sections.
- 1 onion, sliced.
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped.
- 2 tins chopped tomatoes.
- 1 tbsp tomato puree.
- 1 glug of white wine.
- 2 bay leaves.
- Some chopped parsley.
- Beef stock cube (optional).
- Blanched pasta of choice.
- Brown the ox tail in a frying pan. Remove from pan and place in an oven proof dish.
- Put garlic and onion in frying pan and sweat until softened.
- Add wine and tomato puree, cook out gently for 5 minutes. This will remove some of the bitterness from the puree.
- Add chopped tomatoes. You can, at this point add a stock cube to beef things up a little.
- Pour over oxtail in the oven proof dish. You may need to add a little water, the oxtail should be mostly submerged, as the great Fergus Henderson would describe it “think alligators in a pond!”
- Add the bay leaves and cover the dish.
- Place in oven at 175c for about 4 hours or until the meat comes easily away from the bone.
- Remove Ox tail from the dish and shred the meat from the bones using a fork, add back into sauce. Discard bones.
And another thing…
The kind people at PURE TEA have sent me a few different flavours to sample, I have to admit I’m a bit of a English breakfast kind of a tea drinker, but I’m willing to try anything! The GF is quite a fan of herbal teas so her expert opinion was most welcome. We had rosehip, Earl grey and Bombay chai to sample, I have to say I tasted and enjoyed all of them particularly the Earl grey. The rosehip was very fruity and floral with a raspberry aftertaste and the Bombay chai had the GF’s approval on the grounds that “mmmm it smells like Christmas!” Reason enough to try it! Check out the teas at www.purefreshtea.com or follow them on twitter @PureFreshTea.
One last thing…
My good pal Stuart Aikman has had a few dabbles using my simple bread recipe with excellent results! Here is a photo of his pesto bread. Master baker!!