After seeing a mouth watering picture on Twitter showing mashed potato topped with braised oxtail in a crown of carrot, I thought that is just my type of comfort food on a cold winters night. I pestered her (@salmontreecook) for some clues on the recipe and back came instructions on how to cook the stunning looking dish. I needed to experiment with the dish, because it was also going to be my main for a dinner party in a few weeks time for some dear friends.

So off to the local butchers to buy my cheap cut of beef – oxtail, well this was my first shock, oxtail was selling for £7.95 a kilogram, not as cheap as I first thought! But fueled by the thought of amazing rich and succulent beef, I dug deep an bought a kilogram. This was plenty for two greedy guts or it would stretch to 3, possibly 4 servings. The mash can be seasoned with horseradish, but I decided on parsnip mash.


1 kilogram oxtail
2 sliced red onions
2 large carrots
2 chopped celery stalks
3 chopped garlic cloves
1 bottle of rich red wine
500ml good beef stock
3 chopped fresh tomatoes
squirt of tomato puree
salt & pepper
little flour
Olive oil
1/2 swede
1 stalk broccoli
3 small parsnips

First wash and dry your oxtail and remove any excess fat
Coat them in seasoned flour and fry until brown and place in a cast iron casserole dish
Fry the onions and celery until soft and light brown, pour over the oxtails
Slice your carrots into 3 inch sticks and reserve 4 per serving, chop the rest and fry with tomatoes and garlic
When the tomatoes are soft add half a bottle of the wine and beef stock and bring to the boil
Stir in the tomato puree and pour this over the oxtails
Place in a oven gas mark 3 and leave for at least 3-4 hours
When the meat is thoroughly cooked remove and leave to cool
When cool remove each oxtail and shred off the meat using two forks and place in a covered dish
When all the meat is off, pour a little of the stock over the meat to keep it moist
Drain the stock through a sieve
Boil the potatoes and parsnips, then mash with lots of butter until smooth (use a ricer will be even better)
Slice and cube the swede and boil 4 cubes per person until soft (mine are too large in the photo below!)
Boil the carrot slices until cooked, not too soft because these will be your posts
Cut 4 small florets of broccoli per serving and boil until cooked
Simmer the reserved stock to reduce and intensify the flavour – add seasoning to taste

To serve:

Using a tall serving ring, place 4 carrot sticks around the side and in goes the potato.
Place one floret of broccoli in between each carrot stick
Gently place the oxtail meat on top of the broccoli
Top with four cubes of swede
Spoon around the stock and then very carefully remove the serving ring

The finished product didn’t look half as neat as the original that gave me the idea, but OMG the flavour of the sauce and the succulent beef was totally amazing! I do love our guests, but I’m changing the menu because this would be just too much work for six servings!!! (I know a wimp!)

Wine: 2009 Pinot Noir Reserva, Luigi Bosca

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