Christine McFadden Cookery and Food Writing
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Christine McFadden with students
Barbecued Lobster with
New Potatoes, Watercress
and Chives
Blackberries with Sweet
Spiced Ricotta
Candied Seville Orange
Peel in Syrup
Celeriac Steaks with
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Sizzled Sage
Celery and Barley Soup
with Seeds
Coconut Flour Pancakes
with Lime
Deep-Fried Egg
Easy Curry
Fennel, Orange, Olive
and Red Onion Salad
Globe Artichokes
Glorious Green Stir-Fry
Gooseberries with Orange
and Bay Syrup
Goose Egg Frittata with
Potato, Onions and
Piquillo Peppers
Greengage and
Cobnut Crumble
Guinea Fowl with Peppercorn
and Kaffir Lime Leaf Butter
Japonica Jelly
Korean Roasted Roots
Medlar and Ginger Creams
Medlar and Rosemary Jelly
Meringue Roulade with Strawberry, Cucumber
and Mint Filling
Mexican-Style Cabbage Soup with Pork and Beans
Moroccan Goat Tagine with
Apricots and Almonds
Oxtail, Celeriac and Carrots
Pan de Higo
(Spanish Fig Bread)
Pan-Fried Cauliflower with
Lovage Crumbs and Lemon
Parsnip and Ginger Cupcakes with Tangerine Drizzle
Pasta Con Le Sarde
Peach and Almond Ricotta
Peaches in Strawberry-Rose Syrup
Pear and Chestnut Tart with
Rosemary and Orange Syrup
Quince Compôte
Quince and Ginger Sorbet
Rabbit with Potatoes,
Peppers and Lemon
Roasted Parsnip and
Cumin Soup
Roasted Squash and
Chilli Soup
Roasted Swede, Ginger and
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Rosemary Sorbet
Rhubarb and Angelica Sorbet
Rhubarb Tart with Star Anise
and Orange
Salted Sevilles with Star Anise, Coriander and Chilli
Sea Bass Parcels
with Fennel and
Preserved Lemon
Sea Buckthorn, Apple
and Ginger Cake
Seville Orange Ice Cream
Sicilian Sesame Bread
Spiced Medlar Tart with
Walnut Pastry
Spiced Poached Pears,
Walnuts and Sheep’s Cheese
Spiced Roast Quince with
Honey and Clotted Cream
Spring Lamb and Barley Pie
with Lemon, Rosemary
and Mint
Strawberry and
Black Pepper Ice-Cream
Strawberry Compôte with
Tarragon and Orange Zest
Steak and Kidney Pie
Sweet Pepper Tarte Tatin
with Black Pepper Caramel
Turkey Egg Frittata with
Roasted Red Peppers
Two-Cherry Yogurt Ice
Venison Vindaloo
Warm Duck Breasts with Peppery Leaves, Radishes and Walnuts
Warm Salad of Partridge,
Pears and Walnuts
Watercress and
Mushroom Pâté
Oxtail stew recipe development Christine McFadden traditional meat

Oxtail, Celeriac and Carrots

Given a few hours of gentle simmering, nuggets of unpromising-looking meat and sinew melt into a deeply satisfying stew – ideal for a spirit-lifting supper. The ingredients list looks long but the recipe is undemanding. It’s best to start the day before so that you have time to chill the partially cooked dish and remove the layer of solidified fat. If you don’t have time for this, just blot up the liquid fat with wads of paper towels.
You will need a large frying pan and an ovenproof casserole (see Cook’s
notes below)

Serves 4

oxtail 1 large weighing about 1.5kg, cut crossways into thick 5-cm chunks
rapeseed oil 3–4 tbsp
onions 2, diced
celery stalks 2, destringed and diced
sage leaves small sprig, roughly chopped
fresh bay leaf 2, shredded
rosemary chopped leaves from 1 sprig
carrots 2, diced
celeriac ½, diced
garlic cloves 2, finely chopped
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
tomato purée 2 tbsp
red wine 400ml
hot beef stock 800ml–1 litre, preferably from a pouch or home-made
flat leaf parsley chopped, to garnish

for the seasoned flour:
plain flour 3 tbsp
sea salt 1½ tsp
freshly ground black pepper ½ tsp
mustard powder ½ tsp

vegetables to finish:
celeriac ½, cut into 2-cm chunks
carrots 3 medium, halved lengthways and thickly sliced diagonally

1) Trim any thick chunks of fat from the oxtail. Dredge the meat in the seasoned flour. Heat a large high-sided frying pan (see Cook’s notes below) over medium-high heat. Add 3 tablespoons of the oil and brown the oxtail pieces all over, turning with tongs. Remove from the pan and set aside.

2) Reduce the heat to medium. Add the diced onions and celery, plus the sage, bay leaf and rosemary. Fry for about 5 minutes until just beginning to soften. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil if the vegetables start to look dry.

3) Next stir in the carrots, celeriac and garlic. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover and leave to cook for 10 minutes, stirring now and then, until soft but not brown.

4) While the veg are cooking, preheat the oven to 150°C/gas 2.

5) Stir in the tomato purée and cook for a minute. Pour in 300ml of the wine, bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 3–4 minutes.

6) Tip the contents of the pan into a 4-litre casserole (see Cook’s note below). Add the oxtail pieces, stirring to mix. Pour in the hot stock – enough to cover by 2–3 centimetres. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid and put the casserole in the preheated oven. Leave to simmer gently for 2½–3 hours, stirring now and again, until the meat pulls easily from the bone.

7) Tip the contents of the casserole into a roomy bowl and leave to cool completely. Once cold, put the bowl in the fridge for a few hours until the fat solidifies into a layer.

8) Discard the layer of fat and pick out the oxtail chunks. Scrape off the jellied sauce and solid bits of veg, and put this mixture into the casserole. Set aside
the oxtail.

9) Gently reheat the sauce and solid bits. When this has melted to a liquid, tip into a food processor and whiz to a purée. Push through a sieve (see Cook’s note below) and return to the casserole. Add the oxtail pieces and remaining 100ml of wine, stirring to mix. Cover with a lid and reheat gently. Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

10) Meanwhile, blanch or steam the uncooked celeriac and carrots together for 5 minutes until just beginning to soften.

11) Add the vegetables to the casserole. Simmer over medium heat for about 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Check the seasoning and adjust as necessary. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.

Cook’s notes
It’s best to start frying the oxtail in pan large enough to take the pieces comfortably in a single layer. If they’re crammed together they will steam rather than browning. My pan is 28cm diameter with 5cm sides. If you don’t have a big pan, fry the meat a few pieces at a time.
You will also need an ovenproof casserole that can hold 4 litres. Mine is 25cm diameter and 12cm high.
It’s not strictly necessary to sieve the mixture, but it makes for a smooth detritus-free sauce that sets off the freshly cooked veg added at the end.


Recipe adapted from The Farm Shop Cookbook by Christine McFadden, published by Absolute Press/Bloomsbury

© Christine McFadden, January 2021

    Photography: Christine McFadden    
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