Remove as much fat as possible from the oxtail, and fry it in a heavy well-seasoned or non-stick pan until browned all over. Add the onion and fry until light brown. Rub the tomatoes through a sieve on to the meat and onion, and add the liquid and herbs. Bring to the boil, cover, turn the heat right down, and let it barely simmer for about 2 hours or until the meat is tender. Remove from the heat, allow to cool in the pan and refrigerate until next day.
About 30 minutes before you want to serve the stew, remove it from the refrigerator. The fat will have solidified on top and every scrap can be removed. Gently reheat the stew, and simmer it for 15 minutes or so. Season to taste and garnish with some greenery. This is good served with braised or steamed celery hearts and mashed potatoes, or with broccoli and broad egg noodles. We also like it with flageolet, haricot or cannellini beans, presoaked and cooked as described in the next recipe. For a more refined version, you can, when the meat is reheated the second day, remove it from the bone.
© 1995 Frances Bissell. All rights reserved.