My Mother's Braised East-West Oxtail Stew
900g- 1kg (2 to 2¼ lb) beef oxtails
4 cups Tomato Concassé, freshly made, or tinned tomatoes, drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon groundnut oil
225 g ( 8 oz) yellow onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
3 tablespoons plum sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
Zest from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
450g (1 lb) carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
450g (1 lb) turnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
225g (8 oz) new potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
handful small Nice olives
- Blanch the oxtails for 10 minutes in boiling water, drain well in a colander, and pat dry with paper towels.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5.
- Put the tomatoes into the container of a food processor and blend for just a few seconds or put them through a food mill. Set aside.
- Heat a wok over moderate heat, add the olive and peanut oils, and slowly brown the oxtails on all sides. Remove them with a slotted spoon and pour off the excess fat and oil, leaving just 1 tablespoon. Add the onions and garlic, and cook for a few minutes until they are translucent.
- Add to the onions and garlic the oxtails, tomatoes, plum sauce, hoisin sauce, Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry, lemon zest, soy sauce, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, pour everything into the rice cookery, cover, and put in the oven and cook for 1½ hours, or until the oxtails are tender.
- Add the carrots, turnips, and potatoes and cook, covered, for another 20 minutes or until tender.
- Add the olives and heat them through. Skim off any surface fat and serve at once.