England is a nation of meat eaters, and the English know their beef. Oxtail is a traditional favourite because it's economical and among the most flavorful parts of the cow. Make this dish the day before you serve it in order to let it cool overnight to remove the fat. 

4 Tbs (60 ml) vegetable oil 3-4 lbs (1350-1800 g) oxtail, cut into 2-inch (5 cm) pieces 2 onions, sliced 3 carrots, coarsely chopped 3 ribs celery, coarsely chopped 2 cups (500 ml) beef stock 2 cups (500 ml) red wine 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 tsp (5 ml) dried 2 bay (laurel) leaves Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 2 Tbs (30 ml) all-purpose flour 1 can (15 oz, 425 g) chopped tomatoes with their liquid

Heat half the oil in a large heavy pot (Dutch oven) over moderate heat and saute the oxtail until well browned on all sides. Add one of the onions, the carrots, celery, stock, wine, herbs, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Simmer tightly covered over very low heat or bake in a preheated 300F (150C) oven until the meat is very tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate overnight.

 Discard the fat that has collected on the surface, remove the oxtail and set aside. Strain the stock and discard the vegetables. 
 Heat the remaining oil in a large heavy pot and saute the remaining onion until lightly browned. Stir in the flour and cook for 5 minutes. Add the strained stock and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the flour. Add the tomatoes and the oxtail. Simmer tightly covered for 30 minutes. 
 SERVES 4 to 6.

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