When I was little, my grandpa made the long trip to visit us every year, until he was 98 years old. He used to cook sometimes, and my favourite dish was his oxtail stew. That sounds a bit odd, coming from someone who is an inconsistent flexitarian. However, this is different, and once you try it, you will know.
Close your eyes and imagine you are in a little cute english kitchen with wood panelled walls and a yellow table cloth. There’s a jack russel running around somewhere, and horses and cows outside, please don’t forget to take your muddy wellingtons off at the door.
Grandpa’s English Kitchen: Oxtail Stew
Oxtail – 4 slices. Get it fresh from your butcher!
Onions – 2 large ones. I used 3 as I had smaller ones.
Pearl barley – a handful, I like barley so I add more. This time I added a cup.
Oxo cubes – 2. Any other beef stock should also work, but Oxo comes out tastiest.
Lea & Perrins sauce – 2-3 table spoons
Bay leaf – two or three
Tomato paste – 2 tablespoons
Carrots – chopped
Any other vege you like – potato and button mushrooms would be nice, you can use other vege like pumpkin but just be warned that it will change the flavour a bit
Water – enough to cover everything, and a bit more
- Heat everything in a big pot with the water, until it is boiling. Don’t add your extra vege at this stage, only the carrots.
- Add any extra vege. Use your cooking method of choice to finish:
- Oven – pour into a large oven-proof dish. Make sure there is enough water in the dish to cover the ingredients, and cover with silver foil. Stick it in the oven at about 180-200 degrees celcius. Leave it there for about 3 to 4 hours, checking occasionally to make sure there is enough water.
- Slow Cooker – pour into a slow cooker. Make sure there is enough water in the pot to cover the ingredients. Leave it on low setting for 8-10 hours, or 7-8 hours on high setting. If you are going to leave it alone for the whole day or overnight, add extra water and use low setting. (I haven’t tried this, this is just how I was told to cook the stew)
- Pressure Cooker – pour into pressure cooker. Make sure there is an inch or more of water covering the ingredients. Close the lid and cook on high until it boils, then reduce the temperature and leave it on the stove for an hour or so.
Pressure cooking can be scary and dangerous, it’s important to read the manual (I didn’t, who needs manuals, it’s a pot, it can’t be so hard, and so on). As a result there was some kitchen excitement as I tried to open the lid for the first time.
Caution, hot soup burns sometimes.
- Keep going until the meat gets so tender it drops off the bone.
It’s nice with crusty bread or potato (if you didn’t already put potato in the sauce).