On the hob, heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large heavy flame proof casserole dish. Toss the oxtail pieces in the seasoned flour and fry until golden, cooking in 2 batches. Remove the oxtail and put on a plate. On the hob, heat the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil in the same casserole dish. Add the celery, onion and carrots and cook until they begin to soften slightly. Pour on the beer and allow to bubble through, scraping the base of the pan to combine the residual caramelised juices. Reserve this vegetable and beer mixture.
Wipe out the casserole with a paper towel and commence layering the oxtail, vegetable and beer mixture, tomatoes, bay leaves and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Note: the liquid should just cover all of the meat, so top up with water if necessary.
Bring to a gentle simmer on the hob and cook slowly for 3-3 ½ hrs until the meat comes away from the bones – or place in a preheated oven (140ºC/275ºF/Gas 1).
Tip: Check from time to time and top up with liquid if necessary. Check to ensure the meat is cooked, it should easily fall away from the bones. Cook for a further 15 -30 minutes if necessary. Check the seasoning and then serve with the cooking liquid and vegetables.
However, if you feel the sauce requires further reduction, carefully remove the meat and the vegetables from the dish and keep warm, bring the remaining liquid to the boil and reduce until the desired consistency. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve and serve over the meat and vegetables.
The secret to preparing oxtail is to cook it a day or two before serving to allow the fat to rise to the surface, making it easy to remove.
Serve with potato and celeriac mash and extra steamed carrots.
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