Hepburns Oxtail with Rioja and Chorizo

Warming, robust and packed with flavour, this recipe really brings out the best in oxtail and you will be slurping on sticky fingers at the end after picking all that succulent beef out. Inspired by a recipe from Moro Restaurant, this version is slightly sweeter and with less spicy heat. Works brilliantly with mash but for a traditional Spanish approach, serve with fried potatoes.


To cook ahead

1.5kg oxtail, sliced into chunks

1 onion, peeled and quartered

1 carrot, chopped

1 celery stick, chopped

2 bay leaves

3 sprigs of fresh rosemary

1 cinnamon stick

4 garlic cloves

10 black peppercorns

1 bottle of Rioja

Oil, for frying

Salt and pepper, to season

For day of eating

Olive oil, for frying

1 onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

200g cooking chorizo, sliced into rounds

2tbs plain flour

1 tsp sweet paprika

½ tsp fennel seeds, ground


Place a large casserole or pot over a medium to high heat and add a good splash of oil. Season the oxtail with salt and pepper and then place into the pan to brown all over – you may have to do this in batches.

Remove the oxtail and then add the onion, carrot and celery, turning down the heat a touch and cook through for a good 15 minutes to soften.

Then add the bay, rosemary, cinnamon, garlic and black peppercorns and stir through for another 5 minutes before adding the tomato puree to combine.

Return the oxtail to the pan and add the Rioja, topping up with water to cover. Bring to a simmer and then cover with a lid and leave to gently braise on the hob for 2 to 3 hours.

Leave to cool a touch and then remove the oxtail and put into an airtight container and pass the liquor through a fine sieve into a bowl, making sure to push down on all the soften vegetables and aromatics to extract flavour. Place both into the container and bowl into the fridge and leave overnight.

When ready to cook the next day, remove the bowl of stock from the fridge. A layer of fat should have risen to the top, so skim that off – but don’t throw away! (See top tip below.)

Next, place a large saucepan on the hob over a medium to high heat and add a splash of oil, along with the diced onion and carrot and fry until soft and caramelised.

Add the chorizo rounds and cook for another 5 minutes before adding the flour, paprika and fennel, stirring everything to combine.

Scoop the jellified stock into the pan and heat till it liquefies and then add the oxtail to the pot.

Bring to a simmer and then cook for 15 minutes. Don’t forget to check for extra seasoning.

Serve with a green salad and those fried potatoes.

TOP TIP: Try using the oxtail fat that you skimmed off from the stock to fry the potatoes. It is amazing.

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