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What to cook this weekend was mostly decided by the fact that our boiler has been broken for a week and the house is freezing. Therefore it seemed most logical to cook something which meant I could leave the oven on all day, whilst sitting by it and trying to get as warm as possible, whist the rain poured down outside (boo hoo…)

So oxtail it was then. Given that it was St Patrick’s Day I went for a slow braise in Guinness with lots of mushrooms. It came out really well. I was intrigued about oxtail and didn’t really see how something that looked mostly bone and gristley-ness would become edible – but a few long hours in the oven made it really tasty.

Oxtail in Guinness – Serves 2 (generously)

  • 2 decent size chunks of oxtail
  • 1 can Guinness
  • About 10 mushrooms – mixed is good
  • 6 shallots
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Thyme
  • 2 large potatoes

Firstly, brown the oxtail all over in some oil. I like to use this Le Creuset pan as you can brown in the lid and then casserole, I would really recommend it if you can find one – they’re not too common anymore. I’m not sure where you can get them in the UK, and couldn’t google them, so if you find one please do let me know!

Pop the browned meat into the casserole, chop the shallots in half and lightly fry in the frying pan side. Add to the meat, along with the halved mushrooms. Use the beer to scrape off the nice caramalised bits in the frying pan, and add the whole can to the casserole along with some thyme and the bay leaves. Sprinkle in the stock cube for extra beefiness.

Everything looks yellow in the window-less kitchen I'm afraid!

Put into a pre-heated oven at 140 degrees c for at least 4 hours, or until the meat is falling off the bone. Once this has begun, add some chopped potatoes and put back in the oven until they are done. Serve with some veg of your choice.

This was really yummy, hearty food – perfect for a forcibly freezing day. Still no heating (I can’t wait to own my own place and not have to rely on letting companies!) – the jam pan is coming into its own to wash my hair in!

We also had an amazing dinner in Fitzbillies this weekend, the Cambridge institution is definitely back to its best, the food and atmosphere were amazing!