Monday, 12 January 2015

Oxtail ragù cooked overnight

Food blogging, people. Do not try it at home. It's one of those things that have the tendency to take over your entire life. First there's all the cooking and blogging, but then on top of that you are expected to be fluent in social media too: update the blog's Facebook page, look interesting on Instagram and seem witty on Twitter. Entice new readers while keeping the existing ones happy, too. Strive for active, quality content; in regard to writing, photos and recipes. And then find time for at least trying to evolve in IT-, photography- and networking skills. 

And then you should also keep up with what's happening in other people's blogs and the world of food at large. New ideas, trends, The Next Big Thing everybody should be cooking (freekeh, apparently!)... 

Now, while blogging is so very much fun, there are moments when it feels like one continuous performance review; race one just presses on with with the taste of blood in one's mouth. You see, while at it, I also need to work for living, do the shopping, take care of the relationship (outside the kitchen, too!), drink wine and follow football transfer windows. 

And then. Then this happens. You give yourself a day off and just toss something together; cook a dish that's not even supposed to end up on the blog but just feed the hungry people in your life. No writing down the recipe, no staging, no photographing... and hey presto - you've managed to create something so good you can only stare down at your plate in disbelief. I made that. All by myself. This ragù is one of those dishes. It didn't leave everybody quiet though: the following day I took the leftovers to work and a lawyer colleague of mine, big as a bear, roared "God damn, that's good, for Christ's sake!".  

Your honour, I rest my case.

And this is how we do it. 

Serves 4


1 kg oxtail
salt, black pepper
1 onion
3 cm piece of ginger, sliced
3 large garlic cloves
3 sprigs of rosemary
3 bay leaves
1 carrot

Cut onion and carrot into chunks. Peel garlic cloves and bruise them with the back of a knife. Season oxtail generously and brown well in a big pot. Add onion, carrot and garlic cloves and let them get a bit of colour too. Add rest of the ingredients and pour enough boiling water to cover the meat. Transfer into the oven (130) and let stew overnight. 

In case the butcher has cut the oxtail into smaller chunks, 5-6 hours will be enough, though it won't be ruined if you cook it longer than that. Just make sure the liquid won't evaporate entirely. 

Remove the meat with a slotted spoon (carefully as at this point the meat will quite literally fall off the bone) and keep it covered. Drain the remaining liquid and freeze for a while (this makes it easier to peel off the layer of fat). You probably won't be left with much though - mine only yielded about 1,5 dl. If there isn't any liquid left to speak of, no worries - the sauce in itself will do the trick. 


1 onion
1 dl red wine
(1,5 dl cooking liquid, drained) 
1 tin (400 g) passata or finely crushed tomatos
1/2 dl soy sauce
1/2 dl syrup/ dark sugar
1/2 tbsp freshly ground allspice
the zest if 1/4 orange (about 1 tsp)
3/4 dl raisins

Peel and finely chop the onion and sauté in a bit of oil in the pot. Add red wine and bring to boil. Then add the remaining ingredients along with the shredded meat and simmer for an hour or so. Check the taste and season as needed. Serve with polenta (my favourite) or pasta (pappardelle), The Boy Next Door's favourite.

Fancy making your own pasta too? Just click here!




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