Taking oxtail and lasagne to the next level
This is no ordinary lasagne, this is oxtail and celeriac lasagne!
- SERVES: 4
- PREP TIME: 10 mins
- COOK TIME: 60 mins + 4 hrs hands-off low and slow cooking
- DIFFICULTY: not too tricky
- GREAT FOR: special occasion, dinner party
So, I was recently challenged by a friend.
She also happens to be an incredible cook and once ran her own bakery (yes, I’m talking about you, Sally T).
To make something with celeriac.
Sally also happens to be a vegetarian these days.
So, I accepted this challenge… with a little nervousness.
I’ve never used celeriac.
But that was a small problem to the much larger one which is ‘where the hell can you buy them?!!’
I live on the coast surrounded by fields and farmers.
And yet my biggest hurdle to this challenge was finding a local grocer or even a supermarket with celeriac.
And it’s in season!
In fact, it took a trip to London (non-celeriac-chasing-related-trip) to actually find one.
So, with great relief, I bought this ugly little monster root veg.
And brought it back to Devon.
Then I had to research veggie recipes for this knobbly wonder.
And there are a lot but I struggled to find one that would also satisfy me and my family.
The idea of salt-baking it or slow-baking for 2 hrs or more before I could even start on this veg was a little too much for me.
But then I found recipes for celeriac dauphinois.
Ooohhh, so delicious, so simple and totally decadent.
It’s a must try and I will be using celeriac more in this way.
And the good news.
Sally gave me a thumbs up on completing my celeriac challenge.
Oxtail and celeriac lasagne
However, I felt I wanted to use it again but this time as part of a bigger dish.
Which sadly means, Sally, you can’t eat it.
Because the recipe I found uses one of my fave ingredients, oxtail.
And this isn’t a quick slap-up meal even though it’s a take on lasagne.
The oxtail requires 4 hrs slow-cooking.
Which I realise is slightly contradicting my earlier statement about waiting for celeriac to salt-bake.
So, this is where the veggie side of me is overrun by the meat-eater in me.
As I would happily spend hours slow-cooking meat.
Oxtail and celeriac lasagne recipe
Sometimes it’s fun to push your skills a little on cooking.
And as you know, I’m a huge fan of hands-off cooking.
But occasionally, I like trying to elevate my cooking skills or presentation.
And this recipe from Matt Tomkinson does just that.
By using oxtail instead of minced beef/pork and celeriac instead of pasta.
However, this dish still retains that comforting quality that a good old lasagne gives us.
You could just go all guns blazing on a lasagne replacing mince or sausage meat with oxtail.
You won’t hear my family complaining if I did either one of those instead.
So, I’ve also included an oxtail lasagne recipe, below.
And if that’s too much, then this cheats lasagne recipe will also win your family over.
- 60 ml olive oil (¼ cup)
- 1.5 kg oxtail, cut into pieces at joints, rinsed and drained
- 150 gm flat pancetta, finely chopped
- 2 of each – onions, carrots, celery stalks with leaves and garlic cloves, all finely chopped
- 140 g tomato paste
- 400 g canned tomatoes
- 1 ltr beef stock (4 cups)
- 250 ml red wine (1 cup)
- 60 ml red wine vinegar (¼ cup)
- 2 tbsp brown sugar, or to taste
- 6 sheets fresh pasta, or 8 of dried pasta OR use celeriac as per recipe below.
- 80 g finely grated parmesan (1 cup)
- a white onion, cut into wedges
- 1 tsp whole cloves
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 1.25 litres milk (5 cups)
- 100 gm each butter and plain flour
**Instead of bechamel sauce**
- 1 cup all-purpose cream
- 400 g cheddar cheese, grated
- 400 g mozzarella cheese, grated
- Layer with meat sauce, cream, and cheeses. Repeat to make 3 to 4 layers, ending with cheese on top.
- Preheat oven to 160C.
- Make sure your oxtail is at room temp. then, pat dry and season.
- Heat olive oil in a casserole dish over medium heat, and in batches, brown the oxtail approx. 10-15 mins.
- Remove and put to the side.
- In the same casserole dish, add pancetta, onions, carrot, celery and garlic to pan and cook for 15 mins or until the vegetables are soft then add the tomato paste.
- Return oxtail to casserole, add tomatoes, stock, wine, red wine vinegar and season to taste with sugar, sea salt and ground pepper.
- Cover and cook in oven for 4 hrs or until meat is falling off the bone. Skim any fat from surface of the oxtail sauce.
- When cool enough, take the meat off the bones (it can be messy but worth it).
- Place meat and sauce in a saucepan over medium heat, bring to boil, then reduce the heat, simmer until sauce is reduced to about 6 cups. Keep warm.
Bechamel sauce (*see above for alternative to making this sauce)
- Combine the onion, cloves, bay leaf and milk in a saucepan over medium heat, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 mins.
- Strain and keep warm.
- Next melt butter in a heavy-based saucepan, add flour and stir over medium heat for 1 min until combined and starting to colour.
- Remove from heat and slowly whisk in milk until combined.
- Return pan to low heat and cook, stirring, for 10 mins or until sauce coats the back of a wooden spoon.
- Season to taste.
- Increase the oven to 180C/360F.
- Spread a 1/3 of oxtail sauce into a 25 x 25 cm ovenproof dish, then spread a 1/3 of bechamel sauce and a 1/3 of parmesan and top with 3 overlapping pasta sheets.
- Repeat, until the top is finished with the remaining sauce and bechamel, then scatter with parmesan.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until golden.
Oxtail & celeriac lasagne
- 1 oxtail (approx 1 – 1.5 kg)
- flour to dust the oxtail
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 1 small celery stick, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 leek, chopped
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 200 ml red wine
- 1 ltr beef stock
- olive oil
- salt and pepper for seasoning
- 1 celeriac
- 100 ml double cream
- 30 g fresh horseradish
- 100 ml double cream
- pinch of salt
- pinch of sugar
- 200 g baby spinach
- 1 knob of butter
- 1 handful of chives, chopped
- Lightly flour and season the oxtail pieces. In a large casserole dish, on a high heat, add a dash of oil and brown the floured oxtail.(You may need to do it in batches and be patient to get a nice brown).Remove once browned and set aside.
- Now, in the same dish, reduce the heat slightly to medium and add a dash of fresh olive oil, then add the vegetables and the thyme to the pan. Cook until soft and then stir through the tomato purée and another tablespoon of flour.Cook for 5 mins, then add the wine and allow to reduce by half. Finally, add the beef stock and the browned oxtail pieces. Bring to a gentle simmer, cover and cook until very tender – approx 3-4 hrs
- Once braised, remove the meat from the liquid and allow to cool. Pass the liquid through a fine sieve and then return to a pan over a high heat and reduce until you have a gravy-like consistency
- Pick the meat from the bones and put the meat back in with the reduced sauce. Season to taste. (You will reheat this before serving).
Celeriac 'pasta sheets'
- Peel and thinly slice half of the celeriac into 12 thin sheets. Trim the sheets into large circles and blanch in boiling, salted water for 2 mins. Refresh in iced water, then drain on kitchen paper.
- Dice the remaining celeriac and boil in salted water until tender. Place in a food processor with the cream and blend into a smooth purée. Season to taste and keep warm or set aside to reheat before serving.
- In a bowl, mix the cream with the grated horseradish and add a pinch of salt and sugar. Use a hand whisk to whip until thick
- In a pan over a medium heat, sauté the spinach in the butter until tender, then season and keep warm.
Building your lasagne
- Gently reheat the celeriac sheets in a little simmering water and make sure all the other elements are reheated (apart from the horseradish cream)In a small bowl or plate, layer up the spinach, celeriac discs, celeriac purée and braised oxtail as if making a lasagne. Top with a spoon of horseradish cream and a few chopped chives. Serve immediately.