1.25kg/2lb 12oz oxtail, trimmed of fat and cut into pieces
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
1 large carrot, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
3 thyme sprigs
10 black peppercorns
2 tsp tomato purée
300ml/10½fl oz red wine
1.5 litres/2½ pints litres beef stock
1 tbsp plain flour
Heat the oil in a large, flameproof casserole dish. Add the oxtail pieces and fry over a high heat until browned all over – you may have to do this in batches. Take the oxtail out of the dish and put it on a plate.
Add all the vegetables to the casserole and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the herbs, peppercorns and tomato purée and cook for another minute. Pour in the wine and allow to bubble for a few minutes.
Return the oxtail to the pan and pour in the stock. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for 2½-3 hours, until the oxtail is really tender and falling off the bone. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the oxtail pieces to a plate and leave to cool.
Strain the cooking liquor through a sieve into serving bowls.
Shred the oxtail meat and discard the bones. For no-bits soup, puree the meat in a mixer then stir in with the soup or leave the meat shred as it is and use as garnish to the soup.
Whichever, it would be delicious and a hearty meal especially served with some buttered slices of crusty bread.