Oxtail and sweet-potato stew
Oxtail really is the ugly duckling of the meat world – it doesn't look like much to begin with but give it time and your patience will be repaid. You probably won't have any leftovers, but if you do, just shred the meat off the bone and serve it over boiled noodles with some shredded cucumber.
200ml/7fl oz shaoxing wine
60ml/2½fl oz soy sauce
75g/3oz soft dark brown sugar
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3cm piece ginger, peeled and grated
1 red chilli, halved lengthways, plus extra to serve
500ml/17fl oz good beef stock
500g/1lb sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
Bunch spring onions, sliced
Handful coriander leaves
Steamed rice, to serve
Put the oxtail in a large bowl with the wine, soy, sugar, star anise, cinnamon, garlic, ginger and chilli. Stir to combine, cover and leave to marinate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/ Gas3. Add the stock to the pot, bring to a simmer over a medium heat, cover and transfer to the oven for 3 hours. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.
Skim and discard all of the fat from the surface of the pot, making sure that you don't remove too much of the jellied stock. Put the pot back over a low heat, bring to a simmer and reheat for 15 minutes, add the potatoes to the sauce and cook, covered, for 15 minutes, or until tender.
Top with the spring onion, coriander and more chilli, if you like it hot, and serve with steamed rice.
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