Homemade Oxtail and Oyster Pie Recipe
Oxtail and Oysters
Oxtail and oysters is by no means such an unlikely combination as you may at first think. It also has a certain ring to it. Oxtail is perhaps most commonly associated with oxtail soup but it should be remembered that it is essentially just a cheaper cut of beef. Oysters for their part are in modern times viewed as a food for the upper classes, or at least someone with a little extra cash in their pocket. This was by no means always the case with oysters, however, and the time was that they were so plentiful and so cheap that they were very much a poor man's food. It was for this reason that oysters were often incorporated in steak and kidney puddings in Victorian times along with the cheapest cuts of beef.
Oysters for me are best eaten straight from the sea, simply shucked and still alive. I don't think my opinion will ever change in that respect but if I do have to eat oysters cooked, this is unquestionably one of my favourite recipe ideas.
Oxtail and Oyster Pie Ingredients
- ¾ lb piece of oxtail
- ½ small onion, peeled and sliced
- 1oz butter, plus extra for potatoes
- 2 pints fresh beef stock
- 4 fresh oysters, shucked
- 4oz puff pastry
- Beaten egg, for glazing pastry
- Small new potatoes, quantity as desired
- 2 tbsp frozen garden peas
- 1 tsp freshly chopped chives
- Salt and black pepper
How to Make Oxtail and Oyster PieClick thumbnail to view full-size
A knife designed for doing the job properly is a good idea when shucking oysters for several reasons. It makes the job easier, it prevents unnecessary damage to the oyster and it makes the process safer. If you shuck oysters regularly or intend doing so in future, this small investment will pay for itself many times over.
- Add the butter to a fairly large pot. You may also wish to add a little olive oil to help prevent it burning. Gently melt.
- Wash and dry the oxtail. Add it to the pot, season and quickly brown and seal it all over in the butter. Do not forget the ends.
- Remove the oxtail from the pot and add the onion to brown in the same way.
- Re-add the oxtail to the pot and pour in the beef stock. If the stock does not completely cover the oxtail, simply add a little boiling water.
- Bring the stock to the gentlest possible simmer, cover and leave to cook for two and a half hours, checking occasionally to see whether the liquid requires a slight top up with more boiling water.
- After the two and a half hours, turn off the heat and leave the oxtail to cool - in the liquid - for two further hours.
- The oxtail should now be comfortably cool enough to remove the meat by hand. There is no better way of doing this if you want to glean as much of the meat as possible from the bone.
- Peel off the excess fat and gristle and work your way around the circumference of the oxtail, picking off the meat as you go. Discard the cleaned bone and pieces of fat and gristle.
- Note that all of the above procedures could very effectively be conducted the night before you intend making this pie for dinner. Simply refrigerate the meat overnight in a plastic container then proceed from this point onwards the next night to cook and assemble the remainder of the meal.
- Put your oven on to preheat to 425F/210C.
- Lay the oxtail meat in the bottom of a 5" by 4" individual pie dish.
- Shuck (open) the oysters - see instructional video below this section - and pour the meat and juices on top of the oxtail.
- Spoon in enough of the stock in which the oxtail cooked to almost but not quite cover the beef and oysters.
- Roll out the puff pastry large enough that you can cut a 5" by 4" rectangle from it. Lay the pastry on top of the pie and tuck in around the edges.
- Glaze the pastry with beaten egg and make a steam vent in the centre. Put the dish on a baking tray and in to the oven for about thirty minutes, or until the pastry is beautifully risen and golden.
Video Guide to Shucking Oysters
Preparing the Potatoes and Peas and Plating UpClick thumbnail to view full-size
How to Cook the Potatoes and Peas
- When the pie is in the oven, add the potatoes (unpeeled) to a pot of cold, salted water and bring it to a boil. Simmer for around twenty-five minutes to half an hour, until the potatoes are soft.
- Remove the pie from the oven and set aside to rest on a heatproof surface.
- Put the peas in to a pot of boiling water for three minutes.
- Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot.
- Add the butter and chives and gently swirl the pot to coat them all evenly.
- Drain the peas.
- Plate the pie with the potatoes and peas alongside and serve.