What has happened to Autumn? It’s balmy out there. Warm even. The nights are gettting cold but the daytime is positively pleasant. Okay we got the back-end of Hurriance Whatnot but generally speaking the weather is not going to plan. And that’s great except for two things.
First it means we are heading for a vicious winter (the law of Happiness Stan states that pleasant weather is inevitably followed by a spell of unpleasant weather times ten). Second it means that I cannot plunge into a heady mix of ‘winter warmers’, ‘comfort food’ and even ‘unctuous’ creations without them seeming as out of place as fois gras at a vegan convention.
But that won’t stop me. As if. So I decided to get a head start on winter and revert to an old favourite. Oxtail. This time braised in stout (or Guinness by any other name).
The green stuff is a nod to the five-a-day brigade.
Now lets be clear. This creation still fits (most of) the dietary criteria of those seeking to eat a calorie-controlled diet. Insomuch that it doesn’t include much in the way of carbs (if you discount the beer).
Either way, for Oxtail Braised in Guinness, you will need…
…basically some oxtail and some Guinness. But as you can see I included something else. A beef cheek. This is because my favourite supermarket (which is superfluous to name) didn’t have enough oxtail.
Anyway the first thing you need to do is put the oxtail (ideally you’d have a whole one cut into four bits) in a plastic container and pour a pint of Guinness all over it:
Then you cover it and leave in the fridge for 24 hours.
The next day you need to get out a Dutch oven. Choose wisely. Here’s my go-to Dutch oven:
Well used. A gift from the wife’s Grandma. But unfortunately this time it won’t do. I need to upsize:
This one I call Leviathan. The Monster. The Bad Boy of Bad Boys. Anyway back to the food. All you need is the oxtail marinated in the Guinness plus 1/2 pint of beef stock, two onions, some carrots, celery, a bulb of garlic and some thyme.
Now put some oil in that enormous pot, heat and then fry off the meat until well browned:
Cut the top off the bulb of garlic and chop the veg up. Add to the pot and fry until starting to soften:
Add back the meat and pop in the herbage. Pour in the Guinness marinade and the stock:
Bring to the boil, then cover and pop in the oven (more like heave into the oven) at 150 centigrade for about three hours (maybe three and a half)
Once the meat is done to your liking (falling off the bone is good) remove from the pot:
Drain the juices and discard the vegetables (damnation to all those vegetables).
Now, in the interests of health, remove as much fat from the liquid as you can. I Googled this. Its not so easy to get rid of all the fat when its still in a liquid state. I resorted to pouring the juicy stuff into glasses, reducing the surface area and thereby making it easier to spoon the fatty stuff off…
Return the sauce (for by now it is technically a sauce) to a pan and boil down.
But wait. There is still too much detrius. I need purer sauce. Time for the egg white trick. Adding egg white to an impure concotion removes impurities…
Let it simmer, the egg white cooks, and the bits and pieces absorb into it.
Yuk! Better out than in. Now return the purified sauce to the boil and simmer until it reduces down ( a bit of cornflour will help but don’t tell anyone).
Once the sauce is thickened to your liking, pour over the meat.
Now serve. I tried kale. Kale is okay, but I wouldn’t go outside looking for it, so to speak…
All in all this is Autumnal fare – rich and tasty. And to be honest I would eat this any time of year, cold, hot, wet, dry. Don’t care!
Well worth going the extra mile…