So as today has remained Sunny but cold, and as soon as the sun went down colder still – I decided that I would use the slow cooker for dinner tonight .
One of my favourite dishes top do in the slow cooker is Oxtail. It takes a long time, but is all the better for it. And the slow cooker is ideal.
However, as it has become more and more popular, and you see TV chefs using it, it’s now a little more costly.
You can dress it up and add red wine and jellies to make the sauce richer, or you can do as I have done today and made it the way my mum use to make it – with one exception – I didn’t have the oven on all day.
The taste (and the smell of it cooking) is one that reminds me so much of my childhood.
- 1 tsp Olive Oil
- 1 chopped Onion
- 2 cloves of Garlic – crushed
- 1 chopped Leek
- 3 medium sized Carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1.2 small Swede, peeled and roughly chopped to the same size of the carrot
- I oxtail, jointed
- Tomato purée
- 2 Pints of Beef stock
- Fresh thyme and a handful of chopped fresh parsley – from the Lodge’s kitchen garden
- A slug of Balsamic vinegar
- Freshly ground Black Pepper
- Black Pepper
- Salt – if needed – but like to wait till it’s cooked as I find the stock cubes quite salty.
For the Mash
- Enough Potatoes for how many there are of you- there is just 2 of us so I used about 5 good size one (we love mash potatoes) – oh and I prefer red for mashing!
- English Mustard – though I do occasionally used Dijon
- Mayonnaise- make your own it’s very easy, otherwise try and use one which is made form free Range eggs
- 1 Spring Onion – you can add more if you like
- Switch the slow cooker on so it starts to warm the ceramic dish. I tend to pop it on high at this point.
- Heat oil in large pan. Brown off the Oxtail pieces, this should take approx 5 mins. When done remove from the pan and put on to one side.
- Then sauté the Onions, Leeks, Carrots and Swede in the oil that you have used for the Oxtail. This should also take approximately 5 to 7 minutes or until they start to soften. You don’t want them to burn, so do soon a gentle heat. Then add the crushed garlic, keep stirring.
- Add the tomato purée, and cook for a further 2 minutes –this is to cook the purée out. It’s important to cook the tomato purée out as if you don’t then the can leave a bitter taste.
- Then place the sauté veg in the slow cooker making a bed for the Oxtail.
- Place the Oxtail on top of the bed of veg.
- The pour the stock into the pan where the Oxtail and the veg have been cooked making sure you scrape round the pan to get off all those lovely little bits. You can use Red wine to do this bit if you prefer, have some handy or if you want to make the sauce richer. I didn’t today and so just used the stock
- Bring stock to boil a splash of balsamic vinegar,
- Pour the stock over the Oxtail and veg in the slow cooker. Add Black pepper and the herbs; pop the lid on and turn the heat down to Low. Now leave it for 6hrs or so.
- Check that the pot does not run dry; it should not, but always good to keep an eye on it.
- After 6 hours, check that the meat is cooked; it should be almost falling of the bones. If so, then it’s done if not give it a little longer.
- When the meat is cooked, remove it from the slow cooker. Then blend the veg and the gravy. You can make this as fine or as lumpy as you wish – the blended veg should thicken the gravy up. If it hasn’t then I suggest removing some of the gravy and thicken it in a pan with some corn flour and water. Remember it takes a couple of minutes to cook the corn flour, so keep stirring it as you do, when you have it at the consistency you want it then add back to the slow cooker. * You can also add some redcurrant jelly at this point if you want *
- Replace the Oxtail.
- Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Now for the Mash Potatoes – boil you potatoes in salted water until cooked.
- Then strain and add back to pan. Start to mash; add a good dollop of Mayonnaise and the Mustard. Mash till smooth . You can use butter here if you want instead of the Mayonnaise, but somehow Mayonnaise makes the potatoes taste very creamy and it seems to goes really well with the Oxtail and gravy.
- Chop us the spring onion finely, making sure you also use some of the green. Keep some of the green to one side to garnish the dish when served.
- Add the Spring onions to the mashed potatoes and stir through.
- Now place the mash in a bowl and take a large and small piece of the Oxtail and place on the mash.
- Pour the gravy over the meat and around the Mash
- Garnish with the green ends of the Spring onion and serve
It’s very very yummy, and sticky, and it’s meant to be!
The oxtail become very glutinous as the marrow from the bones merges with the gravy, and there is not a polite way to eat it.
So just get stuck in.
I do sometimes serve it with green beans, but tonight it was just the bare essentials.
A whole Oxtail will serve approx 4 people – deepening on the size of the tail, and who is doing the eating.
This is a stew that gets even better the next day.
Just leave it to cool it down and the following day there will be a layer of fat on top of the gravy meat, you can remove that if you are very health conscious.
I have to admit we don’t.
The next day it is even richer.
Just warm it back up in a pan or in the slow cooker, whichever is easier for you.
This is something I have always cooked this, my children have always loved and it is, for me, another wonderful comfort food.
Oh and if there is any gravy left, it’s work keeping, you can freeze it, or save in the fridge to have with steak, or even just over your chips – very yummy indeed!