Antony Bennett, Executive Chef La Tasca
Multi-award winning chef Antony Bennett has been revolutionising menu development at La Tasca for the last three years as well as for Spanish independent concepts including La Vina and Bar Y Tapas.
Most of his career has been spent developing food for leading restaurants, supermarkets and consumer brands within the UK, where he is recognised as one of the leading development chefs. He also contributes to BBC Good Food’s UKTV online channel on behalf of La Tasca and is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post.
Antony’s love of Spanish culture and food sees him regularly travelling to Spain. He tells us that one of his favourite recipes is Rabo de Torro (bulls’ tails).
“It was the summer of 2009 and I was visiting a restaurant called El Faro de Triana, across the river in the Triana district of Seville, noted for its simple, fresh and reasonably priced Andalusian cuisine.
I was actually there researching fish recipes as I’d heard from the locals that this restaurant served a plate of fresh cuttlefish (6!!) that costs less than €15. As I was munching away I noticed the special of the day was flying out of the kitchen. They were serving Rabo de Torro.
It was a blistering hot afternoon and the last thing I really wanted to eat was what one might call “a stew of sorts”. But in the spirit of food research I really couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to taste one of Spain’s most iconic and classic dishes, so I ordered it.
I’m so glad I did, it was truly worth it – the most totally deep, rich and flavoursome melt-in-the- mouth meat ever!”
This is Antony’s recipe for one of his favourite dishes, but substituting oxtails for bulls’ tails. It makes a great tapa dish too.
Rabo de Torro
Serves 4 – 6 people
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: Four hours
- 2kg oxtails or bulls’ tails if you can source them (my butcher sells oxtails already cut to about 350g, so for this recipe I use 6 x 340-350g pieces)
- 2 large carrots, peeled, topped-tailed and diced small
- 1 large onion, diced small
- 1 red pepper, diced small
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 1 bottle of Spanish red wine
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp. tomato puree
- 1ltr good quality beef stock
- 100g readymade demi-glaze
- 1 pinch flaked sea salt
- 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small tin/jar (180g) goose fat
- 1 tbsp. cornflour blended with a little of the red wine
- 1 large non-stick frying pan
- 1 large oven dish
- Kitchen foil
1. Place the oxtails into a large deep tray or bowl, season with salt and pepper then pour over the Spanish red wine, cover and marinate in the refrigerator for about four hours.
2. Place a non-stick sauté pan onto the stove over medium heat and when hot, pour in the olive oil and the goose fat. Add the onions, garlic, carrot, bay leaves and red peppers and sauté for about 10 minutes or until lightly caramelized. Preheat the oven to 140c.
3. Use a slotted spoon to carefully remove the vegetables and bay leaves, leaving only the olive oil/goose fat in the pan. Remove the tails from the marinade, keeping the wine back for the next stage.
Tip the tails straight into the pan, turn up the heat to quickly seal all the edges of the tails and get them nicely caramelised. (Because the meat has been soaking in wine, it takes a little longer to caramelise, and the meat will go grey at first – don’t worry this is part of the process.
Just keep going with it, I like to get the meat really browned at this point, so don’t move them around too much, let each side caramelise then turn, and repeat the process.)
4. Place the sautéed vegetables back into the pan, scrape the bottom of the pan to release any sticky bits, then pour in the red wine that you used for marinating.
Deglaze the pan before adding in the tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, beef stock and the demi-glaze. Bring the whole mix up to a rolling boil on the stove and let the sauce reduce by 1/3rd.
(Whisk in the cornflour – but only if needed to slightly thicken the sauce, however this recipe has a very natural loose sauce, I’d say more-juicier than saucy, perfect to soak up with chunks of bread.)
5. Transfer to the oven dish, cover with foil and place into the oven to bake at 140˚C for four hours. After four hours check that the tails are really tender, so the meat is almost falling apart and away from the bone. Then remove from the oven and serve with crusty bread and boiled potatoes and plenty of freshly chopped parsley.
(Healthier eating tip: Before adding the sautéed vegetable back into the pan drain away almost all of the olive oil/goose fat mix.)