An old-fashioned tail of time well spent

Some of the most flavoursome cuts of meat are those that take a little more time to prepare and cook.

Saturday, 2nd April 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Saturday, 2nd April 2016, 8:36 am
Well worth the wait
Well worth the wait

Many old-fashioned and unusual cuts – you know, the ones your gran used to cook – are definitely tastier.

Hand of pork, lamb breast and pig’s head are just a few I can think of.

And then there is oxtail.

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Raw oxtail

The problem is that with modern living we all want our food prepared quickly and these tasty meals, which do take some time, are unfortunately being forgotten.

None of us has endless hours to spare in the kitchen, but with a little planning you will be rewarded with a fantastic dinner.

This recipe for oxtail needs at least two days to prepare.

However, in my opinion it is well worth the wait for its depth of flavour.

Raw oxtail

It’s a labour of love with a great reward at the end.

Ask your butcher to trim excess fat from the oxtail and cut it into segments.

The large chunks of tail will yield the most meat while the little sections add flavour and stickiness to the end sauce.



1 oxtail cut into segments

1 litre red wine

1 leek in 3cm chunks

2 onions cut into quarters

2 carrots in 3cm chunks

4 cloves garlic

Bunch thyme

Bay leaf

12 peppercorns

1 litre chicken stock



2 carrots cubed

Half a celeriac cubed


1. Put oxtail in a plastic container and cover with red wine. Place in fridge for 24 hours.

2. Now it’s marinaded, heat a large casserole on the hob and brown the vegetables for five minutes using the butter.

3. Drain the red wine from the oxtail into another saucepan and heat gently. Remove any scum using a ladle.

4. Add the red wine to the casserole.

5. Add the chicken stock, thyme, peppercorns and garlic.

6. Once it comes to the boil add the oxtail and bring up to simmer.

7. Cover the casserole and put in a pre-heated oven gas 3/150C for four hours.

8. The meat will easily come away from the bone. Allow to cool enough to handle and strain the liquid into a saucepan.

9. Skim the fat from the liquid and then heat to reduce by half. Now add the cubed carrots and celeriac.

10. Add the oxtail and put it all back in a casserole dish. Place in a hot oven gas 7/200C and cook for 20 minutes. The sauce will be glossy and rich. Season if necessary and serve.