Coda alla vaccinara

  • For the oxtail
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1.8kg beef oxtail, cut into 12 pieces
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 240ml dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp bitter cocoa powder
  • 1.9L unsalted vegetable stock
  • 450g peeled tomatoes, chopped
  • For the garnish
  • 750ml water
  • 4 carrots
  • 6 stalks celery
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 16 small basil leaves, finely chopped
1) Preheat oven to 180C/Gas 4.

2) In a saute pan, add the olive oil, carrot, onion, and celery with minced garlic and bay leaves. Heat mixture until the vegetables start to sweat. Sprinkle oxtails with salt and pepper and add to the vegetable mixture. Add the wine and cook for 10 to 15 mins or until the wine evaporates. Add the cocoa and vegetable stock. Transfer mixture to a heatproof casserole.

3) Cover the casserole and bake in the oven slowly for 2 hrs.

4) Check whether there is too much stock remaining and if so, turn up heat until excess stock evaporates. Add the tomatoes and cook for 40 mins with cover on. Check and stir occasionally.

5) For the garnish: Place the water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Clean and cut the carrots and celery into 0.5cm julienne sticks. Salt the water and cook the celery and carrot sticks together until al dente, about 2 mins. Drain. Saute the vegetables with extra- virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper.

6) Remove pieces of oxtail from the casserole, and put them in a warming dish. Take the sauce that is left in the casserole dish and pass it through a blender.

7) To serve: place the oxtail pieces on plates and cover generously with the sauce. On the top, place the carrots and celery garnish, and decorate with the chopped basil leaves.

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