Roast Fillet of Beef Stuffed with Braised Oxtail

A magnificent dish from Terry Layburn - roasted oxtail-stuffed beef fillet with a lip-smacking reduced brown ale sauce
Roast Fillet of Beef Stuffed with Braised Oxtail
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 50 minutes
  • Effort: medium



  • 1 oxtail, jointed and trimmed of fat
  • 2-3 tbsp beef dripping
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 stick celery
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp plus 1 tsp cognac
  • 1 bottle brown ale
  • 2 litres chicken stock
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 600 g centre-cut beef fillet
  • 75 g rashers of smoked streaky bacon, very finely sliced
  • black pepper

To serve:

  • root vegetables
  • mashed potato


1. Preheat the oven to 140°C/gas 1.

2. Season the oxtail pieces with salt and pepper.

3. Heat the dripping in a heavy-based casserole over medium-high heat. Add the oxtail and fry until browned on all sides.

4. Add the vegetables and continue cooking until lightly browned.

5. Drain off the fat. Stir in the tomato purée, and cook for 4-5 minutes.

6. Add the sugar and cook for another 4-5 minutes.

7. Stir in the vinegar and boil for a few minutes until completely evaporated.

8. Stir in the cognac and boil until reduced by two thirds.

9. Pour in the Brown Ale and boil until reduced by half.

10. Add enough chicken stock to just cover the oxtail. Bring to the boil.

11. Add the bouquet garni to the pan, cover tightly with a lid or aluminium foil. Place in the oven and cook for 4 hours until very tender.

12. Remove from the oven, and increase the temperature to 240°C/gas 9.

13. Drain the oxtail in a colander. Strain the liquid through a muslin-lined sieve set over a clean saucepan.

14. Gently simmer the liquid until reduced to a sauce consistency, skimming regularly to remove any impurities. Set aside and keep warm.

15. Strip the flesh from oxtail and set aside.

16. Make a deep incision down the length of the beef fillet. Stuff with the oxtail flesh and then reshape. Wrap with the finely sliced bacon and tie at 2cm intervals with kitchen string.

17. Place in a roasting pan and roast for 12-15 minutes until medium rare, or longer if desired.

18. Reheat the brown ale sauce, correcting the seasoning if necessary.

19. To serve, cut into thick slices with the sauce spooned over. Serve with root vegetables and buttery mashed potatoes.

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