Oxtail stew with butternut squash and cinnamon
Vive l'automne, time to dust out your casserole for the official opening of the epicurean stew season!! I always wanted to cook oxtail so when I found this recipe in Ottolenghi's first book last week, I thought this was my opportunity. Oxtail is cheap, and slow cooked it is fantastically moist, fibrous and tender. Add hints of cinnamon, orange and star anis and you get a most wonderful dish for a warming dinner with friends.

Oxtail stew with butternut squash and cinnamon

Posted on September 30, 2010
Categories: Main Courses, meat and chicken, No-stress: make ahead, Uncategorized
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Recipe by: adapted from Ottolenghi, The cookbook, Ebury Press
Busy:40 min, Total prep time: 3h30
Serves: 6 
Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan).

Poor the oil in a large, heavy-based oven-proof casserole dish with a well-fitting lid over high heat. When the oil is hot, brown the oxtail pieces on all sides and transfer them to a colander so any excess fat is drained away. Do this in batches otherwise the pieces will boil in their juices rather than fry.

Remove all but 2 tablespoons of fat from dish and add the shallots, carrots and garlic. Cook over medium high heat for 10mins or until golden, stirring from time to time.

Add the wine and bring to a boil, scraping any browned bits from the bottom. Cook until nearly all the wine has evaporated.

Add the tomatoes, herb bundle, orange zest, bay leaves, cinnamon, star anise, pepper and a pinch of salt. Place the oxtail pieces on top and cover with a large piece of baking paper placed directly on the oxtail. Cover the casserole securely with a heavy lid and bake for 2-3hrs, or until the meat comes away easily from the bone.

Remove the baking paper and take the meat pieces out. When they are cool enough the handle, pick all the meat from the bones and place it back in the casserole. Add the pumpkin or butternut squash pieces and some water if the dish is on the dry end.

Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 30mins or until the pumpkin is tender. Check the seasoning and transfer to a large serving dish.

Meanwhile, make the gremolata. Finely chop all the ingredients and mix them together.

Serve the oxtail stew in deep heated bowls or serving plates and scatter the gremolata over the top. I served it with bulgur, it was fantastic!

Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan).

Poor the oil in a large, heavy-based oven-proof casserole dish with a well-fitting lid over high heat. When the oil is hot, brown the oxtail pieces on all sides and transfer them to a colander so any excess fat is drained away. Do this in batches otherwise the pieces will boil in their juices rather than fry.

Remove all but 2 tablespoons of fat from dish and add the shallots, carrots and garlic. Cook over medium high heat for 10mins or until golden, stirring from time to time.

Add the wine and bring to a boil, scraping any browned bits from the bottom. Cook until nearly all the wine has evaporated.

Add the tomatoes, herb bundle, orange zest, bay leaves, cinnamon, star anise, pepper and a pinch of salt. Place the oxtail pieces on top and cover with a large piece of baking paper placed directly on the oxtail. Cover the casserole securely with a heavy lid and bake for 2-3hrs, or until the meat comes away easily from the bone.

Remove the baking paper and take the meat pieces out. When they are cool enough the handle, pick all the meat from the bones and place it back in the casserole. Add the pumpkin or butternut squash pieces and some water if the dish is on the dry end.

Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 30mins or until the pumpkin is tender. Check the seasoning and transfer to a large serving dish.

Meanwhile, make the gremolata. Finely chop all the ingredients and mix them together.

Serve the oxtail stew in deep heated bowls or serving plates and scatter the gremolata over the top. I served it with bulgur, it was fantastic!

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Rating: 2.3/5 (27 votes cast)
Oxtail stew with butternut squash and cinnamon, 2.3 out of 5 based on 27 ratings
My oven had broken down when I made this recipe so I cooked the meat over the hob over the lowest heat possible for 2h45, and it worked beautifully.

The recipe calls for 300 mL water but I didn't need to add any. The need to add water depends on how much steam has evaporated from the casserole during the slow cooking, which in turn depends on how tight fitting your lid is. Just add enough water to have a moist and juicy stew.

I changed a few things in the recipe. I increased the pumpkin quantity, which I thought was too low and used a gremolata recipe from my beloved book "Chez Panisse", which has a higher ratio of parsley. The recipe in the Otto Lenghi, which I first served, was way too strong on the zest and garlic - Take my word for it as I adore fresh garlic and lemon zest!
Ingredients

Oxtail stew:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1.8 to 2kg oxtail, cut into large pieces (ask your butcher)
200g shallots, chopped
3 large carrots, cut in large chunks
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
400ml red wine
1-1/2 400g tins Italian tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped (650 g)
10 sprigs thyme and 5 sprigs rosemary, tied in a bundle
Zest of half an orange, peeled in long strips
2 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
600g peeled butternut squash or pumpkin, seeded, cut into 2-3cm chunks
300ml water
Salt

Gremolata:
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 large clove garlic, very finely chopped
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon

Serve with: bulgur, quinoa or couscous

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