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Oxtail Stew (Roman)

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Wash the oxtail in cold water and pat the pieces dry.

In a large, heavy-based Dutch oven or enamel pot, that can later contain all the ingredients, fry the onion in the olive oil over medium heat. When it is soft, and before it browns, remove the onion to a bowl.

Place half the oxtail in the pot and brown it on all sides. Once the oxtail is nicely browned, transfer it to a plate and brown the other half.

Return the onion along with the oxtail to the pan , raise the heat, and add the wine. Let it sizzle and partially evaporate.

Add the tomato, 0.5 cup of water, salt, and pepper. Turn the meat, making sure it is covered with liquid. Bring the pot to a steady simmer, then reduce the heat to low.

Half cover the pot and cook for 3 hours. Every now and then, turn the meat and add a little more water if the sauce is looking too thick.

Add the celery, sultanas and pine nuts to the pan and stir. Cook for 2 more hours.

By then the meat should be incredibly tender and falling from the bone, the sauce, rich and dark. If you donít have time to let the stew rest overnight, spoon away some of the fat that is resting on the surface. If you wish, add grated chocolate or cocoa, taste, and add more salt, if necessary.

Serve over pasta.