It would appear that the recipeforprocrastination bank balance is feeling the strain a week before pay day. I am therefore determined to keep food shopping to a minimum as we wait out these few days, and the cupboards are starting to look somewhat on the bare side. Expect freezer meals galore in the week to come!
One of the few things sitting in my fridge was a lump of (apparently very good) stilton, leftover from my parents’ visit at the weekend. Whilst I’m sure that my dad could quite happily spend his life eating cheese, neither A Man nor I are cheese lovers, especially when it’s intentionally mouldy. But as you will be well aware, I refuse to throw food away, and needed to concoct a recipe in which I could use it.
This recipe was inspired partly by an excellent port and Stilton sauce I tried at the Mason’s Arms on Saturday, and partly after browsing through the very extensive Ballymaloe Cookery Course given to me by my brother and his girlfriend for my birthday. Oxtail stew jumped out at me, and as a cheap cut of meat it fit the bill nicely. This is a very heavy stew – definitely one only for the colder months!
Oxtail braised in Port and Stilton Gravy
About 200g oxtail per person
Sliced onions (although I used the rest of my onion incredi-gravy, ordinary onions would be fine)
2 tablespoons plain flour
200ml ruby port
250ml beef stock
1 tablespoon tomato purée
75g blue Stilton, or other blue cheese
Cornflour, mixed with cold water
Mashed potato and steamed veg to serve
- Fry the onions in a little oil for a few minutes. Stir through the flour and add the stock and tomato purée.
- Place the oxtail pieces in a slow cooker or casserole dish. Add the carrot, onion-stock and port and stir well. Cook on ‘high’ for around 6 hours (or in a medium-low oven), stirring occasionally.
- Crumble the cheese into the gravy and stir to melt it through.
- If the gravy is quite thin, stir through some cornflour mixed with cold water and heat through to thicken.
- You can either serve the meat bone-in, or shred it as I did. You don’t get a huge amount of meat in oxtail (most of it is a combination of fat and bone) but the flavour leaches into the gravy, so it’s almost as if you have liquid meat instead. If you’re planning to shred the meat, remove the oxtail from the gravy and leave to cool slightly before handling. The easiest way to do it is to use your fingers to separate the meat, fat and bone – a messy job, but more accurate than using utensils!
- Obviously, you can serve this as an ordinary stew. However in my experience, a fantastic stew can (in the eyes of A Man, my brothers and my dad) be elevated to almost unparalleled heights by turning it into a pie. The shredded meat was simply divided between some ramekins, topped up with gravy, stirred and then topped with a circle of puff pastry, baked in the oven until risen and brown. The remaining gravy was served in a jug, as ordinary gravy and the lot was served with mash and veg. Delicious!