If you're yet to be convinced by nose-to-tail eating, Pipers Farm Red Ruby oxtail may be just the cut to persuade you. All of our grandparents probably relished oxtail, but it fell from favour for a while and is only now making a well-deserved comeback. Packing a huge nutritious thwack, oxtail is packed with gelatinous goodies like marrow and collagen. Surprisingly meaty it makes stews of unparalleled richness, with the collagen melting away to make thick, unctuous gravy. Cooked super-slow, the meat will fall off the bone so there's no fiddling needed. For such a versatile and intensely delicious cut, oxtail is excellent value.
Slow grown and grass fed, Pipers Farm animals have natural lifestyles that are reflected in the quality of their meat. Our Red Ruby beef cattle are reared the traditional way, which means we only sell free range beef. They graze Devon's meadows and moorlands, needing only the mixed grasses, native plants and herbs to help them grow strong muscles and bones. This traditional breed has been a feature of the west country for centuries. Keeping them in the fields of mixed farms has benefits beyond just their meat: they fertilise the soil as they go, meaning there's no need for chemical sprays to keep the grass lush and abundant. In turn, this offers a safe habitat for insects, small mammals and birds. That's a win-win cycle.
How to cook oxtail
The ideal cut for a really hearty warming stew, combine the oxtail with root vegetables, woody herbs, rich beef stock and a good splash of red wine or dark ale. Cook gently in a low oven for 2 to 4 hours, adding a splash of water from time to time to keep it moist. No thickener will be needed for the perfect gravy: the marrow and collagen will do that job for you. Serve with a creamy risotto and crisp seasonal greens, to cut through the richness of the stew.