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Stewed Oxtail

1 oxtail
1 tablespoonful of dripping
½ turnip, diced
1 piece of celery, chopped
½ carrot, diced
1 onion, diced
1½ pints of stock
Bunch of sweet herbs
Blade of mace
3 or 4 cloves
1 dessertspoon arrowroot

Bring the tail to the boil in cold water. Drain, dry it, and cut into joints. Heat the dripping and fry the tail till well browned. Add the vegetables, then cover with stock. Add the herbs and seasoning and simmer gently for 3 hours till the meat is tender.
Lift the meat from the saucepan and strain the stock. Blend the arrowroot with a little water, add to the stock and bring to the boil, stirring; simmer gently for 5 minutes. Strain over the tail. Serve garnished with a macedoine of vegetables or green peas in small heaps.
(Source: School Dinners, by Linda Sonntag, Sidgwick & Jackson Limited, 1988)

Serves 4 – Preparation: 30 mins – Cooking: 3 hrs
* 150g (5 ounces) dried haricot beans
* 1.5kg (3 pounds) oxtail, segmented
* flour, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 30ml (2 tablespoons) vegetable oil
* 12 shallots, peeled
* 4 garlic cloves, crushed
* 250ml (1 cup) red wine
* 500ml (2 cups) beef stock
* 60ml (4 tablespoons) tomato purée
* 250ml (1 cup) boiling-hot water
* 45ml (3 tbsp) brown sugar (optional)
* 1 bay leaf (optional)
* 2.5ml (1/2 tsp) dried thyme (optional)
* 2.5ml (1/2 tsp) teaspoon dried sweet basil (optional)
* 2.5ml (1/2 tsp) teaspoon dried parsley (optional)
1. Soak the beans in water overnight.
2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
3. Trim the excess fat from the oxtail.
4. Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed ovenproof pan over a moderate heat. Dust the oxtail in seasoned flour, then add to the pan and colour until golden brown on all sides.
5. Add the shallots, garlic, wine and stock.
6. Mix the tomato purée with the boiled water. Add the sugar to the tomato mixture to neutralise the acidity. Give it a good stir to remove all lumps and add tomato mixture to the oxtail.
7. Rinse the beans thoroughly under running water and add to the meat.
8. Add the herbs if desired.
9. Bring the oxtail to a simmer and braise in the preheated oven. After 1 hour lower the heat to 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2 and braise for a further 2 hours.
10. For best results, remove the pot from the oven, let it cool down and leave in fridge to marinate further overnight. After it has been reheated, don’t forget to remove the bay leaf.
Serving Suggestions
Rice or mash, and roasted parsnips are great accompaniments.
1. Oxtail varies from 1 to 1.8kg in weight. Ask your butcher to cut it into segments for you.
2. This dish freezes well.

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