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Monday, 4 March 2013

Food: Ottolenghi's oxtail stew with butternut squash and cinnamon

Here's the first offering from Ottolenghi's cookbook with a few adjustments I made to the recipe. I was cooking for my friends, Jonny and Ernie, and decided to make a hearty oxtail and butternut squash stew. Don't be afraid to use oxtail, it's really yummy and rich and it's great value for money. As with so many meat dishes, including the bone adds a huge amount of flavour. I served it with cous cous and broccoli chargrilled with garlic and chili. Make sure you make the effort to make the gremolata - it really lifts and freshens this hearty meal.

Serves 6

olive oil for frying
2 Kg oxtail
200g shallots, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
400ml red wine
650g canned chopped tomatoes
10 sprigs thyme
5 sprigs rosemary
zest of 1 orange
2 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
1 star anise
salt and pepper
500g butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into 2.5cm cubes
300ml water

For the gremolata:
2 tbsp roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
grated zest of 1 large lemon
2 garlic cloves, crushed

1. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees celsius.
2.  Add the oxtail pieces to a large casserole dish and allow to brown for 15 minutes. Tip the oxtail into a colander to drain off any fat. Reduce the oven temperature to 180 degrees celsius.
3. In a large frying pan, saute the shallots, carrots and garlic in a little oil for 10 minutes until softened but not coloured.
4. Add wine to the pan and bring up to boil, leave until most of the wine is evaporated. Add the tomatoes and thyme, rosemary, star anise, cinnamon, salt and pepper, orange zest and bay leaves. Allow to simmer for a couple of minutes.
5. Add the sauce to the casserole dish, place the oxtail pieces on top and cover first with greaseproof paper and then a tight fitting lid.
6. Place in the oven for approximately 3 hours or until the oxtail meat begins to fall off the bone.
7. 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time add the butternut squash and water to the casserole.
8. To make the gremolata, simply combine all the gremolata ingredients. Serve the stew with cous cous and sprinkle the gremolata on top.

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