August could be my favourite month. While the weather is still intermittently bad, you can see the end of winter.
So now we're having a last rush of cooking winter dishes before h swept away by spring's warmer weather. Heavy stews like the following always taste better when the weather's cold.
Oxtail with red wine.
Take an average oxtail* and joint it. Hardly necessary: the butcher will do it for you. Boil the pieces ten minutes with a bay leaf, a clove of garlic and a teaspoonful of pepper. Drain.
Now sear the oxtail pieces in a cast iron pan and remove to a large pot.
Place two chopped onions, two chopped carrots and a scored clove of garlic in the pan in which you have seared the oxtail. Add a cup of boiling water. The residual heat will deglaze the pan juices, combining them with the vegetables. Pour the lot into the large pot over the oxtail. Add half a bottle of red wine and one jar of tomato passata. Add enough water to just cover the contents.
Simmer a couple of hours, then cool and chill. Next day, remove fat, reheat and eat. The meat will fall off the bone. Ideal on garlic mashed potato.
Turn the remaining gravy and meat into a ragu: add a can of chickpeas and a sliced avocado, reheat and serve over tortiglioni or rigatoni. Possibly even tastier than the original dish.
*What's an average oxtail? 1.5 kilograms according to a farmer I just asked.