Thursday, January 26, 2012

OXTAIL IN BRODO. It's not all about tomatoes you know.

This is categorically the worst time of year. Christmas is over. Nothing is going on. Money is sparse. And the tax man is calling. The only thing to do then, is to cook hearty warming foods full of comfort and reassurance. In response to my, frankly, suicidal mood today, I'm cooking Orecchiette in Oxtail Broth. I love Italian broths. Not the Italian food that most people think of. Not tomatoes and sharp sweet sauces but deep pale meals cooked over long periods of time, invented before America was found and the tomato pillaged the character of all subsequent dishes. Don't get me wrong. I really love tomatoes. It's just that there was life before the tomato you know. A life full of delicate subtle-sweet European vegetables and meaty broths.

I bought my oxtails from my nearest butcher 'Dombey's' in Market Row, Brixton. This meal is clean and fresh and has almost improved my mood! Oh and by the way, ordinarily I would use tagliatelle but we haven't got any at Rosie's at the moment so I've made do with another favourite.

For the broth:

400g oxtail joints
3 litres of water
1 tsp all spice berries
2 bay leaves
1 stick of rosemary

Place the oxtails in a medium saucepan. Cover generously with water and add to this the all spice berries (for a deep wintery aroma), bay leaves and rosemary. Bring the pan to a gentle boil and then lower the heat to a lazy simmer. Place a lid on the pan and continue to heat for 2 hours or until the meat is soft and succulent and falling off the bone. Strain the broth into a jug and set aside. Shred the meat off the oxtails and set aside. Discard the aromatics.

For the rest:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 carrot, finely diced
2 sticks of celery, trimmed and diced
1 leek, trimmed and finely sliced
1 big glass of white wine
lots of maldon sea salt
lots of freshly ground pepper
a few leaves of fresh basil

Heat the olive oil in large pan on a moderate flame. Throw into the pan, the carrot, celery and leek. Sweat, stirring often, until it's all soft. Now add about a litre of the stock that you have kept aside. And also the wine. Simmer for a few minutes and then add the stripped oxtail meal. Season. Boil the orecchiette until really soft. Serve all together in bowls with shredded basil and more pepper.


  1. What a great recipe! It looks so tasty!
    I love baking cakes, but am gradually making my way through savoury recipe books.

    I will definitely be trying this! Yum Yum


  2. oof this looks AMAZING!!! oxtail is the best comfort food - so underrated.

    can't wait for book 2 (already on my amazon wishlist) toot toot!


  3. Ohhhh! this looks so good! Always been a bit nervous about trying oxtail - maybe this'd be a good place to start with it x

  4. Eyelinr, do try recipe. Nigel Slater also did a very good looking recipe yesterday in the papers, so you've got a few to choose from. xxx

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