Chinese Braised Oxtails

Oxtail2 002bOxtails make a wonderfully warming winter dish, but they do take a bit of time to cook and this recipe is best made a day or two in
advance then finished on the day of eating.

This is a great dish to make at the weekend, then to have during the week – it will keep happily in the fridge for a couple of days, then when you want to serve it just pop it in the oven while you are
preparing the rest of the meal. Making in advance also has the
advantage of allowing the fat to set on the surface, which can then be removed prior to reheating thus reducing the fat content – which is a good thing as this is a fatty cut.

What is oxtail, you may ask? As the name implies it is the tail of an ox or more likely these days the tail of any cattle beast. By the time you see the tail in the butchers it has been skinned and cut into pieces – one tail will include a variety of pieces from largish to small and if you resemble them you can see the tail.

Classified as offal, each piece of oxtail consists of a piece of tail bone with marrow in the centre and is surrounded by meat which
becomes gelatinous when cooked. Long slow cooking is required for this cut to be tender and delicious.

This dish takes inspiration from a recipe in a book called Cooking on the Bone by Jennifer McLagan.

Chinese Braised Oxtails

An oxtail weighs 1-1.5kg and feeds 2-3 people.

Serves 4

2kg oxtails, cut into pieces
salt and ground black pepper
vegetable oil
1 large (about 200g) onion, cut into wedges
½ cup Shaoxing rice wine (Chinese rice cooking wine – available from Asian food stores)
2 cups beef stock
¼ cup soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 star anise, broken into pieces
5cm piece ginger, bruised
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 long red chilli, thinly sliced – seeded , if desired
1 orange
chopped coriander, to garnish

1              Preheat oven to 150°C.

2              Heat a large heavy-based, ovenproof dish over a medium heat. Add a little oil and swirl to cover base of dish. Brown oxtail in batches, adding more oil as needed – as each batch browns remove and set aside.

3              Pour off any excess fat leaving about 2 tbsp in dish. Add
onion and cook, stirring frequently, for 8-10 minutes or until
translucent. Add wine and bring to the boil, stirring to remove any browned bits from the base of the pan. Stir in stock, soy sauce and honey. Add star anise, ginger, garlic and chilli and bring back to the boil.

4              Remove 4 strips of zest from orange and add to pan. Set
orange aside for juice to use later in recipe. Return oxtail to pan, bring back to simmering, cover and transfer dish to the oven. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 hours or until meat is very tender and
falling off the bone.

5              Remove pan from oven and set aside to cool. If you can see them remove ginger, orange zest and star anise. Refrigerate

6              When ready to serve, preheat oven to 150°C. Lift any fat from the surface of the casserole and discard. Cover dish, place in oven and cook, for 1 hour to heat through.

7              Just prior to serving, squeeze ¼ cup juice from orange and stir into dish. Scatter with coriander.

Serving suggestion: Serve on steamed brown or white rice with a green vegetable of your choice.

Recipe by Rachel Blackmore

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