PRAWNS WITH LEMON & GARLIC, SPINACH WITH PINE NUTS & RAISINS
RABO DE TORO SERVED WITH PLAIN BOILED POTATOES
CARAMELISED FIG CUSTARDS SERVED WITH CARDAMON SHORTBREAD BISCUITS
This didn’t seem like a complicated meal for mid-week when I cooked it the other week, but now that I am writing about it, there is quite a lot of work. I must have been in one of those Zen cooking moods.
Much of it is done in advance, which makes it feel less work. The oxtail stew is cooked the evening before and left to very slowly cool in the oven overnight, which lets it cook long and slow and so develop a rich flavour. I cooked enough stew so that there was enough not only for this meal, but also for making Fresh Pasta with Beef Ragout for my sisters the following weekend.
I have jars of Caramelised Fig Jam, made from fruit from the farm last summer. So for the dessert, I only needed to mix an egg custard, put that in pots on top of the Fig Jam and then put the pots in the oven to cook and set.
But then I got into biscuit making mood. The custards are perfectly fine without the biscuits. But I had that yearning in my minds stomach for buttery, crunchy, sweetness with the gorgeous fragrance of cardamoms…..
I am giving you the stew recipe today. You will get the starters and dessert tomorrow.
RABO DE TORO – OXTAIL STEW
6 pieces oxtail
2-3 tablespoons flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic – finely chopped
1 large onion – finely chopped
2 red peppers – cut into strips
2 large tomatoes – skinned and roughly chopped
half a bottle of full bodied red Spanish wine
Small piece of cinnamon bark
freshly ground black pepper
Gremolata – finely chopped fresh garlic, flat leaved parsley and the finely grated zest of one lemon
Put the flour in a shallow dish and season very generously with salt and black pepper.
Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a thick based casserole.
Coat the oxtail pieces in the seasoned flour and fry on a medium heat, turning each side until browned all over.
This may have to be done in two batches. The meat pieces will brown more easily if they are not crowded in the pan.
Add more oil as you go along if needed.
Remove the meat from the pan and put to one side.
Add the onions and garlic to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes.
Add the peppers and continue cooking for about ten minutes until the onions are slightly browned.
Add the tomatoes and cook for a further five minutes scraping any flour stuck to the base of the pan into the sauce as it is moistened.
Put the meat back in the pan.
Add the wine. It should just come up to the top of the meat.
Heat to a simmer.
Put the clove and allspice berries into a thick based dry pan and heat slowly for five minutes or so to toast and bring out the flavour.
Grind to a powder with a pestle and mortar.
Add this to the stew with the piece of cinnamon.
Cover the casserole and put in a low oven, you want the sauce to be showing an occasional bubble but no more. For my oven this is 120C.
Leave to cook for 6 hours. Turn the oven off and leave to slowly cool.
Reheat at 180C the next day to serve.
Serve with plain boiled potatoes and gremolata sprinkled on top.