By Beth Dooley
3 pounds oxtails, cut into 1-1/2 inch lengths
Freshly grated black pepper
1 tablespoon butter or vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, sliced ¼-inch thick
2 ribs celery, sliced 1/4 –inch thick
2 carrots, sliced ¼-inch thick
¼-cup chopped parsley
2 tablespoons fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried
¼ cup tomato paste
2 bottles (dark stout), or beer of choice
2 cups chicken or beef stock
1 teaspoon juniper berries
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
Chopped parsley for garnish
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Trim the oxtails of excess fat and season with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven, or heavy deep pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat and brown the oxtails, turning frequently, until they are crusty brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove the oxtails and set aside.
Add the onion, carrots, celery, thyme, and parsley to the pot and stir to coat with the fat. Cover and cook until the vegetables release their juices, about 3 minutes. Remove the cover and continue cooking until the vegetables are browned, about 2 minutes.
Quickly stir in the vegetable stock and cook for until it coats the vegetables and begins to stick to the bottom of the pot, about 1 minute. Whisk in the beer and stock. Put the juniper and peppercorns into a spice bag and add to the pot (or if you don’t mind a little crunch, just add them loose).
Return the oxtails to the pot and cover. Bake the oxtails until the meat is very, very tender and falling off the bone, about 3 hours. Skim off the fat before serving.
To skim off the fat, put an edge of the pot on the stove over high heat and, using a spoon or a bulb baster, remove the fat as it collects in the cooler side of the pot. Adjust the seasoning, and serve the stew garnished with chopped parsley.