Sunday, June 22, 2008

Oxtail Stew in a Slow Cooker

The penny finally dropped when I accidentally discovered yesterday that oxtail stew cooks beautifully and better in a slow cooker (it's so self-evident on hindsight that not to have thought of it earlier appears stupid). I had to go out to the supermarket to get some carrots and onions for the stew and couldn't leave the oxtail simmering on the stove in case of accidents. So I put it in the slow cooker, and lo and behold! It was cooked till wonderfully tender and with none of the watching and hovering that would usually have been necessary in the usual stove-top cooking.

Recipe for Two
Two huge oxtail chunks
2 cloves (not bulbs!) of garlic (can be omitted)
1 bay leaf
a teaspoon of black peppercorns, crushed
half a teaspoon of dried thyme (one teaspoon if using fresh) or rosemary
some beef or veal stock (substitute with water)
half a carrot, diced
one celery stick, diced
one big red onion, sliced and sauteed till soft in butter
red wine (4 tablespoons)
salt to taste

Sauteed the oxtail chunks in butter until well-browned on all sides. Add the beef/veal stock (or water) and bring to the boil. Transfer into a slow cooker and add the garlic, bay leaf, thyme, and peppercorns, leave the slow cooker on the "high" setting, for about 3 hours. One hour or so before serving, add the diced carrots, celery, and sauteed onions (you can't add these in too early as they will disintegrate), and the red wine. Salt to taste before serving. Voila! Easy oxtail stew in 5 hours with very minimal actual cooking.

Note: I don't use much carrots or onions as I much prefer my food to be savoury rather than sweet, but there's nothing wrong in using a lot more carrots / onions if your preferences run that way.

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