This is a surprising dish. I was quite delighted when I was drinking mulled wine and realised it would make a wonderful stew. This recipe works with other pieces of stewing beef but tail has a comforting, gelatinous quality to it that I love.
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise
- 10 whole cloves
- 3 bay leaves
- 10-12 gratings of nutmeg
- 1 orange, whole peel
- 1-3 tbsp golden caster or raw sugar
- 2 celery sticks
- 2 white onions, halved
- 3 carrots, halved
- 1 head garlic, halved horizontally
- 1 bottle (750 ml) red wine
- 1.5 kg (3¼ lb) oxtail pieces, preferably cut from the larger end
- 3 tbsp plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
- olive oil
- 2 fennel bulbs, tough outer layer discarded and the rest thinly sliced
- 2 oranges, peeled, pith removed and cut into half moons
- 1 tbsp black olives, roughly chopped
- ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 handful flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- olive oil
- red wine vinegar
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F/Gas 2).
Place the cinnamon, star anise, cloves, bay leaves, nutmeg, orange peel, sugar, vegetables and garlic in a large saucepan and pour in the wine. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, toss the oxtail pieces in the seasoned flour so they’re completely covered. Shake off the excess. Heat a good glug of oil in a heavy-based saucepan (with a lid) and brown them on all sides. When they’re nice and golden, pour in the mulled wine mixture. Season well.
Put the lid on and bake for 3 hours, or until the meat falls easily from the bone – sometimes it takes a bit longer, but it will happen eventually.
When the oxtail is ready, combine all the fresh salad ingredients in a bowl, season well with salt and pepper, add good splashes of oil and vinegar and toss well to combine.
Remove the oxtail from the pan. Skim off any excess fat from the sauce and reduce it a little. Return the oxtail to the sauce and serve with the salad either on top or on the side.