But recently I have been seeing them in my butcher's display (Flood's of Oldcastle, Co. Meath) and just decided to have a go.
He sells them vacuum packed like this and there is more than enough for two in one tail and for €4 you can't go wrong.
I don't know what prompted me to open up my copy of The Silver Spoon as I rarely bother with cookbooks. I prefer to Google recipes and patch together my version of a few options. I just can't follow a recipe. I don't know why.
Anyway I followed the recipe in The Silver Spoon, sort of. The recipes are very vague so you need to interpret. With all my recipes the quantities are not exact. Use what you want, more or less. It's a peasant dish so you add what you have.
2 cloves of garlic
1 carton of passata (250ml)
200ml white wine
half a celery
a cinnamon stick
A few bay leaves
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
Put on a large pan of salted water to boil. Add the oxtail and one onion and carrot sliced and a bay leaf and some fresh thyme sprigs. Bring to the boil and simmer for an hour. After an hour remove the tail with a slotted spoon.
In a frying pan fry the other onion and garlic until the garlic is burnt. Remove it but save the carmelised onion and transfer it to a casserole. Add the oxtail and brown it evenly all over. Transer it to the casserole. Remove the onion and carrot from the stock pot and toss it on the pan to carmelise. Add this to the casserole.
With the stock, set it back on a medium heat with the lid off and reduce it. This will make a lovely beef stock. Boil until it's reduced by half and cool.
To the casserole add a bay leaf, 200ml white wine and boil until the wine is almost gone. Add in the passata, some of the stock (adding more as necessary) and cover and simmer for 2 hours. Turn off and leave overnight to sit.
Next day add the celery, cloves and cinnamon stick and simmer for a further two hours.
The longer you cook it the better. The meat begins to fall off the bones. You will be left with a lot of sauce but the Italians ever resourceful don't waste this but serve it with rigatoni the next day (rigatoni al sugo di coda).
It's difficult to portray in words how amazing this dish is but I'll try. It's better than the best you have ever eaten. It's just amazingly good.
I served it with a red wine risotto using the beef stock produced above and lots of red wine, red onions, garlic, salt and pepper.
If you can come up with a better tastier dish using cheaper ingredients, let me know......