Every now and then, if you’re like me, you get a craving for meat: maybe because we don’t seem to eat as much of it as we used to. Well anyway, a few weeks ago, as mentioned in an earlier post, we had a very pleasant food and wine weekend in the Southern Highlands with good friends. And one of the places we always visit when we’re in that part of the world is Maugers (pronounced Majors) – a small, family owned, butchery in Burrawang – and the perfect place to delight that craving.
Maugers Meats is this wonderfully old-fashioned (think corner-shop), beef and lamb heaven from another era. And as my other-half pointed out with great excitement, right opposite one of the great country pubs – hmmm?
Mat, a part of the family and third generation butcher, is the tall, friendly, young man who looks after us, catering to all our needs. Apart from selecting and trimming our order, he runs us through the Maugers Meats family story.
So apart from the shop what’s so special about Mauger’s meat? For starters all the beef and lamb they sell is grown on their own farm in the Southern Highlands: all grass fed and naturally grown using no hormones or antibiotics. Not being a doctor, I won’t say trust me, but I will say this meat is special, and tastes exactly how beef and lamb should taste. This time we left their shop loaded down with beef cheeks and oxtail – I’ve included a recipe for oxtail below.
As an aside, if you’re down that way, but not travelling as far as Burrawang they do have a second shop in Moss Vale, but unfortunately, as yet, not in Sydney.
Oxtail is something I associate with cold weather, and it appears frequently on our winter table, in various guises. It can be rich though, and a little goes a long way. This recipe is on the lighter side, and the gremolata adds a lovely fresh citrus burst to the braised oxtail. We like it served on a bed of rice, but tossed in with your favourite pasta, is pretty good too.
Braised Oxtail with Orange Coriander Gremolata
- 2k oxtail, cut into joints
- 1 hot chilli, seeds removed
- 400g chopped tinned tomatoes
- 500ml dark ale
- 2 onions, peeled and quartered
- 3 cloves garlic, skin removed
- 3 fresh bay leaves
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise
- Peel from ½ an orange
- Parsley stalks from ½ bunch parsley
- 1-2tbsp olive oil
- Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
- Lime cheeks and steamed rice to serve
- 1 cup loosely packed coriander leaves, finely chopped
- 1 spring onion, finely sliced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
Preheat oven to 130C. Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof casserole over a medium heat, and brown the oxtail in 2 stages until golden brown. Add tomato, ale, onion, garlic, rosemary, cinnamon, star anise, orange peel, parsley, salt, pepper and enough water to just cover the oxtail. Bring to a simmer, skimming any scum that rises to the top, cover with a sheet of crumpled parchment paper, and the lid, and put into the oven for 3 hours, or until meat is falling off the bone.
Remove oxtail, take all meat off the bones, and set aside covered while you strain the sauce, and reduce slightly over a medium heat until thickened slightly*. Taste for seasoning, return oxtail to casserole, let cool, and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, remove from fridge, and scrape the solidified fat from the surface, it will peel away easily in large pieces. Combine all ingredients for the gremolata in a small bowl.
Gently reheat over a low heat, and serve with steamed rice, gremolata, and a lime cheek.
*I prefer to have the sauce slightly on the thin side, as the rice soaks it up perfectly. However, just make sure the sauce is seasoned well, when it’s the consistency you like.