Ox tail is one of my favourite cuts of meat when making a stew because it is full of flavour and the meat falling off the bone is simply sublime. The bonus? Everything is cooked in the one pot.
The twins would rank this all encompassing meal one of their TOP 5 FAVOURITES!
ROBUST OX-TAIL STEW
1.5 kg Ox-Tail
1 brown onion
6 gloves of garlic
2 sticks of celery
1 medium sized carrot
1 medium sized sweet potato
4 sprigs of dried or fresh thyme
4 bay leaves
1 tin of diced tomatoes
1 tin of water
1 tin of lentils, drain of liquid
2 glasses of shiraz (or your favourite red wine)
1 tbsp Chicken Bouillon powder
1 tbsp honey
Salt and pepper to taste
- In a cast iron casserole pot over medium heat, brown ox tail on all sides and season with salt and pepper. This process will take around 10 minutes.
- Remove browned ox tail and leave it aside. In the same deep casserole pot, add garlic-celery-carrot-sweet potato-thyme-bay leaves and honey. Mix well and add honey as well as a small sprinkling of salt and pepper. This process will take around 5 minutes. Add red wine to deglaze the bottom of the pot and be sure to scrap as much of the brown bits so that it clings onto the vegetables (think massive flavour!)
- Place ox tail back into the pot, add water, diced tomatoes, chicken bouillon powder and lentils. Make sure that the liquid just covers the top of the meat.
- Cook on high for 5 minutes, followed by a simmer for the next 1.5 hours with a lid over the pot (with a small gap to let the steam out so it does not overflow). Turn off the flame, place the lid firmly over the top (without any gap) and let it cook gently in the residual heat for the rest of the day.
* If you are time poor, brown everything and place it in the slow cooker. Cook it on low for 8 hours. When you return home in the evening, dinner is already made!
* If you have a cast iron casserole pot and you are not leaving the house till after 9 am, start cooking this at 7 am so that by 9 am, you can turn off the heat and resume the rest of the day's activities. When you return home in the evening, dinner is already made! The flavour with that prolonged gentle cooking makes it worth the effort.
* Season and taste your food at every step, do not leave the seasoning to the end. That is how flavour is build.