I'm not afraid of animal appendages, or innards for that matter. Tails, trotters, cheeks, stomachs.... bring it on I say! These are the underrated star cuts of the meat world; tasty, sustainable and uber cheap. You can be grossed out by them, or you can give 'em a go. I reckon there's no better introduction to that world than this hearty, fragrant, warming and nourishing braise, perfect as we head into cooler weather.
MOST AMAZING BRAISED OXTAIL
extra virgin olive oil
1 oxtail, cut into chunks (I bought a pack of oxtail pieces for $9 from a local butcher)
1 onion, finely diced
3 Dutch carrots or 1 large carrot, finely diced
1 leek, finely diced
1 tbsp fennel seeds, crushed
6 pimento seeds, crushed
1 dried chilli, crushed
sprig of rosemary
1 cup good quality red wine
salt and pepper to taste
good quality short pasta, such as fusilli
Parmesan cheese, grated
Add a splash of olive oil to a large, heavy-based pot and brown the oxtail pieces on all sides. Add the diced onion, carrots and leak and cook gently until soft. Add the crushed spices and rosemary and cook for 1-2 mins, until fragrant. Add the wine and salt and pepper to taste and enough water to just cover the meat. Bring to the boil then cover and simmer gently for 4 hours.
Remove from the heat, then lift the oxtail pieces out and allow them to cool a little. When cool enough to handle, pick the meat off the bones, then place the shredded meat back in the pot with the sauce. Add the fresh oregano leaves and simmer with the lid off for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce will thicken nicely.
Serve with your favourite short pasta and a generous sprinkle of grated Parmesan.
Keep the bones for stock or give them to your pooch. Mine loved them!