Coda alla vaccinara / Roman oxtail stew

May 7, 2018

Cooking time, 4.5 hrs, depending on the cut of meat

  • 1.5 kg of oxtail (I used beef but veal works well too and requires less cooking time), cut into 4-5 cm pieces, ask your butcher to do it for you
  • 2-3 carrots, chopped
  • 2-3 white onions, chopped
  • 1 bunch of celery stalks (3-4 chopped into 5cm pieces, the rest finally chopped)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 250ml of dry white wine (a generous glass)
  • 250-400 ml of ‘passata’ (it as a ready made tomato sauce, if not available use 1kg of ripe tomatoes, peel, deseed and blend them with a pinch of sugar)
  • * optional: a small piece of lard
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper (freshly ground)

Start with heating up the oil and lard in a heavy based pan (the pan should be tall enough to accommodate all the ingredients including the meat and ‘passata’). Add all the chopped vegetables and after 5 minutes add the garlic. Let them soften until a golden (pale golden) colour stirring occasionally, so they don’t burn.

At the same time in a separate frying pan, heat 1-2 spoons of oil and brown the oxtail pieces on each side. Control the heat of the pan and don’t let them burn.

Once the meat has browned, move it to the pan with the vegetables adding the frying juices.

Fry everything together for a couple of minutes.

Next add the wine and let it evaporate. At this stage you may want to put the heat up to help the wine to evaporate.

Add some pepper and pour over the ‘passata’, add some salt (you can always add more towards the end of cooking). Turn the heat down, give it a stir and put the lid on.

Now the process of long gentle cooking starts. Make sure you stir your stew every now and then. If you are using the beef cut, allow a minimum of4 hrs of cooking time or maybe even a bit more. It all depends on the meat and its thickness.

It is ready when the meat is soft and peels itself off the bone. Adjust the seasoning to your liking.

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