Oxtail and red wine – it’s one of those things that just go together. Like Wine and pizza. Or wine and burgers. Come to think of it, wine with anything really. Except for politicians; nothing goes with that.
But I digress. Some time ago we visited the Lanzerac stall at the annual Harvest Festival at Leriba lodge. This was the morning after the devastating fire, so we spent a fair deal of time discussing the heritage of the farm (one of the oldest in the country, by the way). We were then also reminded that Lanzerac was the first estate to commercially bottle and use the name Pinotage in 1961 (1959 vintage).
The story of Pinotage is very interesting (read more at http://pinotage.co.za/origin-of-the-grape). In short, it’s a hybrid of Pinot Noir and Cinsault (then called Hermitage) first created by Prof Perold in Stellenbosch. Pinot Noir is notoriously difficult to grow, and was combined with the best qualities of the strong Cinsault varietal. And viola – Pinotage was born. And what better to go with it than a simple, hearty oxtail stew.
For the oxtail, you’ll need:
+- 1kg Oxtail (go with about 400g per person
Salt & pepper
Some self-raising flour
2 Large onions
Some carrots (not a fan of chopping carrots, so I used a handful of already julienned carrots)
4-6 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
A few thyme sprigs
A can of chopped tomatoes
500ml beef stock
500ml Lanzerac Pinotage (the better the quality of the wine, the better the flavour of the food)
Heat a splash of oil in a heavy-bottomed pot on medium heat (cast iron works best). In a ziplock bag, add flour and salt and pepper to taste. Coat the oxtail sections, and start to brown them in the pot. Once browned, remove and set aside. Add the onions and carrots, fry until soft, and then add the garlic, thyme, and bay leaf. Add the can of tomatoes and let it simmer for about 5 minutes.
Add back the oxtail, and give it a good stir to cover everything. Add the stock and the wine, reduce heat, and cover to simmer. The work is now pretty much done. The oxtail can slowly simmer for at least 3 – 4 hours, but do check in every 30 minutes or so. If it starts drying out, add a bit more stock. But don’t take it off the heat too early – once the meat almost falls off the bone, you’re good to go.
We made polenta to go with the stew, but mash will work just as well. The wine was incredible with the food – well worth the wait! We enjoyed the 2014 Lanzerac Pinotage with the oxtail. The notes of plums and cherries worked well with the richness of the stew. And the cool and windy weather outside completed a perfect, lazy Sunday afternoon!
A special thank you to Lanzerac for the opportunity to taste this gorgeous, award-winning pinotage!