This rugged pot of finger-licking meaty goodness uses an old-fashioned cut that, after a few hours in the oven, becomes a rich, hearty, stand-out dish. It uses a whole bottle of wine but, believe me, the result is worth every drop.
1 cup plain flour
16 oxtail pieces (around 2kg) – they are usually sold in 4-5cm pieces
50 gram butter
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 large onions, sliced
3 large cloves garlic, finely sliced
5 medium carrots, half cut into 1cm dice, half cut into 2-3cm pieces
1/3 cup brandy (i have successfully used whisky or bourbon here as an emergency alternative)
5 large sprigs flat-leaf parsley
4 fresh bay leaves
500 millilitre beef stock
750 millilitre full-bodied red wine (the best you can afford)
kumara or potato mash, or crusty bread, to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
2. Sprinkle flour onto a sheet of baking paper (for easy clean-up). Season well with salt and pepper. Dust oxtail pieces in flour, shaking off excess.
3. Melt butter with olive oil in a heavy-based ovenproof pan over medium heat (I use my lidded Le Creuset pan – you need a tight-fitting lid for this dish). In batches, brown oxtail all over, then set aside. If there is excess fat in pan after cooking, pour most of it off.
4. Add onion, garlic and diced carrot to the pan and sauté in the remaining fat until slightly softened. Deglaze the pan with brandy, scraping the bottom to release all the flavours. Return oxtail to the pan with the carrot pieces, parsley, bay leaves, stock, wine and seasoning. Stir to nestle everything in evenly.
5. Cover with a cartouche (a round piece of baking paper that covers the surface of the food) then top with the lid. Transfer pan to the oven and cook for 3 hours or until the meat is falling away from the bones and the sauce is rich and sticky.
6. Remove from oven and skim off excess fat from surface then serve with mash or crusty bread.