Oxtail Marmalade

oxtail marmalade


Here’s a companion recipe to the Bacon Jam of a couple of weeks ago – perfect for a twin gift pack for your local friendly carnivore if you’re going for an Edible Gifts Christmas. I highly recommend it if you’re unsure – people don’t want stuff, they want delicious stuff to eat! It’s a thoughtful expression of affection because it involves that most precious commodity – your time – spent selecting and then making the recipes.

This time, the meat in question is oxtail and if you’ve for a slow cooker, then there’s going to be very little for you to do for most of this recipe. Price-wise, it’s not as budget friendly as the bacon, but it’s pretty close at (currently) around £6.00/kg. In addition to melt-in-the-mouth, tender meat, you get fantastic stock and flavourful fat (for use in pies and for adding flavour to casseroles), so all in all quite the bargain.

This marmalade is extremely dark and rich-tasting, but comes at the price of having to spend some time separating the cooked meat from the bones. This is a doddle once it has been slow-cooked overnight, albeit a rather sticky job. The meat is then simmered with a little of the cooking liquid and, as with the bacon jam, some additional flavourings to round out the taste.

Again, like with the bacon jam, I’ve spent considerable time consulting the other recipes ‘out there’ – and then opted to ignore a lot of what they profess and go my own way. The original recipe suggested adding alarming quantities of port, wine, butter, sugar, onions, carrots – and serving with roasted marrow bones. This is a much simpler version and has no truck with any non-meat distractions. Personally, I think it’s rich and complex enough.

This is not a speedy recipe, but it is easy and straightforward. You can spread the preparation out over several days if liked.

Keep in the fridge and warm though gently before enjoying on crisp wholemeal toast.

Oxtail Marmalade

To cook the oxtail

2kg oxtail – large joints if possible
2 litres beef stock
500ml red wine
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 onion – chopped
4 sticks celery – chopped
3 carrots – chopped
4 bay leaves
1tbs black peppercorns

  • Put everything in a slow cooker and cook overnight on Low for 8-10 hours. Alternatively, cook in a covered casserole (seal around the lid with foil to keep in the moisture) in the oven set to 120°C, 100°C Fan until the meat is tender and falling from the bones.
  • Lift the joints from the liquid and drain in a sieve.
  • Discard the vegetables and herbs.
  • Strain the cooking liquid through a fine sieve. If you’d like the stock really clear, strain again through damp muslin.
  • Put the stock to chill in the fridge. When cold, lift off any solidified fat. Your stock will be lovely and dark and clear, and will probably set like jelly.
  • When the meat is cool enough to handle, separate the meat from the bones, connective tissue and fat. If you want to keep the fat for making pastry set aside, otherwise discard all the non-meat debris.

To make the marmalade

You can use all the meat and all the stock if you like. These amounts are given more as a guide as to the ratio of additional flavourings.

750ml strained stock
750g cooked, lean oxtail

salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs oyster sauce
1 tbs mushroom ketchup
1 tsp anchovy essence

gravy browning

  • Put the meat and stock into a non-stick frying pan and heat slowly.
  • Simmer the mixture until it begins to thicken and there’s more meat visible than liquid.
  • Taste a little of the meat and stock. The flavour will be different when warm.
  • Decide if you would like to add any of the flavourings listed. This will depend very much on your own personal taste and the oxtail you were able to buy. Sometimes its strongly flavoured, sometimes it needs a little help.
  • Add the flavourings, if liked, in the order given. Feel free to add any other flavourings you like. ALWAYS stir well in and taste before adding anything else.
  • When you’re happy with the flavour decide whether or not you’d like to add gravy browning. Personally, I love the dark brown glaze it gives the marmalade and think it perfectly suits the richness and depth of flavour of the oxtail, but go with your own inclination.
  • Spoon into hot, sterilised jars and seal.
  • Store in the fridge and warm gently before serving.

If you have any meat and stock left over, you can combined them and freeze for use later either as a ragu for pasta, or a hearty pie filling.

One Comment on “Oxtail Marmalade”

  1. This oxtail marmalade took me a while as I had managed to scavenge <400g of meat from the initial 2kg of oxtail so then had a hold-up while I purchased another oxtail. (Yes, I could have just scaled the recipe down and proceeded with what I had but I'd already mentally allocated jars to people. 🙂 )

    The upside is that I have a goodly quantity of stock. I used some of it to pressure cook all of the bones and the liquor reminds me of every historical novel that ever made reference to the healing properties of beef tea. 🙂

    Anyhow, the delay was worth it as the final result is as rich and unctuous as your photograph. Thank you, yet again, for an excellent recipe.

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