Serves 4-6

  • 2 whole oxtails
  • 2 onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 bay leaves plus 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 175g (6oz) chestnut button mushrooms
  • 10g (½ oz) dried wild mushrooms, Porcini if possible
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 300ml (½ pint) strong red wine
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon oil

Trim any excess fat from the oxtails and cut them into sections. Sear them in a pan using the oil until they are browned all over.

Transfer to a casserole. Chop the onions finely and crush the garlic. Fry these in the same pan as the oxtail, adding more oil if necessary.

When they are starting to colour sprinkle in the flour and stir to incorporate. Put in the rest of the ingredients and enough water so that the resulting sauce will eventually cover the oxtail.

Season, cover the casserole and simmer until the oxtail is tender. I find setting the oven at 130C (Gas mark ½) and cooking between 3-4 hours works for me.

The meat should fall away from the bone. Taste for seasoning. Allow to cool and then taking each piece of oxtail in turn pull the meat away from the bone.

Leave the meat in chunks and discard the bone. Place the meat back into the sauce.

For the Suet pastry:

  • 450g (1lb) self raising flour
  • 225g (8oz) shredded suet
  • 150ml (¼ pint) water
  • Salt and pepper

You will need a two pint pudding basin or ideally four to six individual pudding basins, well greased.

Mix the flour, suet and salt and then mix to a dough with cold water. Roll out the dough and line the pudding basin(s). Spoon the meat into the basins using more meat than sauce, (the extra sauce can be served separately).

Seal with a pastry lid and steam for two hours (45 minutes for the individual ones). When cooked, turn out the puddings and surround with the extra sauce.

Delicious served with creamy mashed potato and cabbage.