Ottolenghi Style Oxtail Casserole with Gremolata

I stumbled across this Ottolenghi style oxtail casserole using ingredients like cinnamon, star anise and orange peel, as well as gremolata as a topping. Seeing that winter is upon us and I had some oxtail in the freezer, I decided to give it a go.

The recipe for the gremolata can be found here.

You will need the following ingredients for the casserole:

Ingredients for the oxtail casserole

Ingredients

  • 2-3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3kg oxtail in pieces
  • 4 shallots, peeled and chopped
  • 5 large carrots, diced
  • 5 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 x 420g canned, diced tomatoes
  • 15 sprigs of thyme
  • 5 sprigs of rosemary (tie the rosemary and the thyme in a bundle)
  • Zest of an orange, peeled in long strips
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 whole star anise
  • 8g cinnamon sticks
  • 1 medium butternut, peeled, seeded and cut into +/- 2cm pieces
  • 2 medium onions sliced
  • 600ml beef stock
  • 500ml dry red wine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • all-purpose flour to cover oxtail pieces

Method

Preheat the oven to 170°C.

Dust the oxtail pieces with the all-purpose flour. An easy method is to throw a cup of flour in a plastic bag, add the oxtail pieces and shake the bag until all the pieces are covered. Add more flour if needed and discard the bag afterwards.

The flour-dusted oxtail pieces

Heat a large, ovenproof pot which has a heavy lid – a large Dutch oven will work perfectly. Add some of the oil and brown the oxtail pieces in batches. Add more oil as needed. Transfer the oxtail to another container.

Browned oxtail pieces

After the oxtail has been browned and removed, add the cinnamon and star anise and roast them for 2-3 minutes. Add the shallots, garlic and carrots with about 80ml of the red wine to deglaze. Cook for about 15 minutes over medium heat, stirring now and then.

The cinnamon, star anise, shallots, garlic, carrots and wine added

Add the rest of the wine and try to scrape all the brown bits from the bottom. Cook until the wine has reduced to almost a third.

Add the tomatoes, rosemary and thyme bundle, bay leaves and orange zest. Bring to a boil. Add the oxtail, putting the thick pieces at the bottom. Put a piece of baking paper over the oxtail and then place the heavy lid on top. Put the pot in the oven and let it cook for 3 hours.

The tomatoes, orange zest, bay leaves, thyme and rosemary added

Make the gremolata.

Remove the pot from the oven. Lift the baking paper, stir carefully and add the stock, butternut and onions. You can grill the butternut a little bit beforehand. The meat should still be on the bone. Put the baking paper back, close the lid and put it back in the oven for another hour.

The butternut and onions added after 3 hours in the oven

Remove the pot from the oven, lift the baking paper and carefully mix the onions and butternut into the rest of the casserole. Put the pot back in the oven for another 30 minutes.

An hour later, just need to go another 30 minutes

Remove the pot from the oven and discard the baking paper. The meat should be very tender now and almost come off the bone. Let the dish rest for about 30 minutes before dishing up.

Coming out of the oven the last time

Serve with sprinkled gremolata on top and some rustic bread.

We enjoyed this with a very good 2016 Inkara Cabernet Sauvignon from Bon Courage.

Here are the tasting notes of the 2017 vintage:

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