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Oxtail Stew Shopping Tips
Buy fresh herbs and spices to season your soup; fresh garlic, parsley, and thyme will enhance the flavor without being overpowering.
Oxtail Stew Cooking Tips
Most soups are better the day after their made. If possible refrigerate your soup overnight before serving.
Oxtail stew is comforting, delicious, and super easy to make &ndash this will surely satisfy your cravings for hearty comfort food.
This is probably my favorite way to eat oxtails. It requires gently braising the meat over slow heat. This process will not only soften the connective tissues of the meat but it will also brown the meat nicely and give the stew an extra flavor boost.
Oxtails definitely deserve more attention than they get!
- 3 pounds (1.3 kg) oxtails with separated joints
- Salt and pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 celery rib, chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 2 cups (475 ml) stock (chicken or beef)
- 2 cups (475 ml) of red wine
- 3 whole cloves garlic, peel still on
- One bay leaf
- Pinch of thyme
- 2 carrots, cut into 1-inch segments, large pieces also cut lengthwise
- 2 parsnips, cut into 1-inch segments, large pieces also cut lengthwise
- 2 turnips or rutabagas, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Pat dry oxtails with paper towels. Sprinkle oxtails all over with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium to medium high heat in a 6-quart Dutch oven.
Working in batches, and not crowding the pan, sear the oxtails in hot pan on all sides until golden brown. Use tongs to remove oxtails to a plate, setting aside.
Add the chopped onion, carrot, and celery to the pan. Cook for a few minutes until onions are translucent.
Add the oxtails back to the pan. Add the whole garlic cloves, the stock and wine. Add bay leaf, thyme, and half a teaspoon of salt. Bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 3 hours, until meat is fork tender.
One hour before the meat is done, heat oven to 350°F (175°C). Toss carrots, parsnips, and turnips in olive oil in a roasting pan. Sprinkle well with salt and pepper.
Roast vegetables for 1 hour, or until lightly browned and cooked through.
When meat is tender, remove oxtails from the cooking liquid. Either skim the fat off the top with a spoon, use a fat separator to remove the fat, or chill the cooking liquid for several hours so that the fat solidifies, making it easier to remove.
If you are making ahead, at this point you can just put the stew in the refrigerator (let come to room temp first), with the oxtails still in it, and let it chill over night. The next day, scrape off the fat, reheat and then remove the meat from the dish.
Pour the cooking liquid through a mesh strainer into a bowl, using a rubber spatula to press against the vegetable solids caught in the strainer.
Discard the solids. Return the liquid to the pan and simmer until reduced by half.
Then add back in the oxtails, and add the roasted vegetables to the pan. Heat on low heat for half an hour for the flavors to meld.
Jamaican Oxtail Stew
If you've never had oxtail stew, you're in for a treat. It's rich, SUPER flavourful, with fall-off-the-bone-tender meat and creamy butter beans. A true special occasion dish. Before you make it, a few things you should know:
1. Oxtails are SUPER fatty.
This is a good thing! Fat = flavour, and oxtails have plenty. If you'd like, you can skim the fat that rises to the surface as you're cooking. Or, if you'd like to be more thorough about removing the fat before serving, refrigerate the stew once you reach the end of step three. Most of the fat should rise to the surface and solidify in an hour or two, making it much easier to remove more of the fat. Once you've done that, you can bring the stew back up to temperature on the stove and proceed with step four.
2. You can control your level of spice.
We LOVE the spice in this recipe, but it's definitely for spice lovers. If you're not so crazy about spice, opt for a single habanero, or none at all.
Additionally, if you're looking to make an authentically Jamaican-style stew, keep your eyes peeled for Scotch Bonnet peppers in your grocery store. They're as spicy as habaneros but with a slightly more tropical flavour that is preferred for traditional oxtail stews.
3. You can eat whole allspice berries.
Allspice berries are non-negotiable in this recipe, as they give this stew a HUGE amount of flavour. You might be wondering if you're gonna have to fish all of them out of the stew when it's ready, and luckily, the answer is no! They will soften quite a bit while cooking, and when eaten will provide a small burst of allspice flavour and not much more. It's an essential part of the dish, and we promise you won't break your teeth on them. 😉
4. It makes the best leftovers ever.
Since making this stew requires a good amount of effort, we recommend freezing the leftovers in individual servings. This way, when you're ready to eat it again, all you have to do is whip up some rice while the stew defrosts! There's nothing like having a delicious bowl of stew at the end of a long day, so do yourself a favour and make extra for the leftovers. (Stews are always better next day anyway, right?)
Looking for more Jamaican recipes? Try our Jerk Chicken recipe and never go back to boring chicken dinners again!
How to Make Oxtail Stew:
Season the oxtails liberally with salt and pepper.
Brown the oxtails well
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a heavy bottomed pan. Brown the oxtails very well on all sides and set aside. Good, thorough browning equals luscious flavor.
Add ingredients to the pan
To the pan, add the beef broth, garlic cloves, basil, oregano, bay leaves, and diced tomatoes with their juice.
Return the oxtails along with any accumulated juices to the pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a slow, steady simmer. Cover and cook for 2 ½ hours.
Add the onion, potatoes, and carrots to the pan and continue cooking for an additional 30-40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the vegetables and oxtails from the pan.
In a small bowl, combine the butter and flour to create a smooth mixture.
Increase the heat to medium and whisk the butter-flour mixture into the broth a spoonful at a time. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed.
Return the oxtails to the thickened broth turning them to coat. Serve the vegetables and oxtails with thickened sauce over hot, steamed rice.
Cook bacon in heavy large pot over medium-high heat until brown and crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to plate. Pour drippings into small bowl. Return 6 tablespoons drippings to pot (add olive oil, if necessary, to measure 6 tablespoons total reserve bacon for another use). Tie parsley, thyme, and bay leaves together for bouquet garni. Stir 1 tablespoon flour and butter in small bowl to smooth paste.
Whisk 1 1/2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and nutmeg in medium bowl. Add oxtails, a few pieces at a time, to seasoned flour and toss to coat.
Heat bacon drippings in pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add oxtails and brown on all sides, about 6 minutes per batch. Transfer oxtails to bowl after each batch.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Add chopped onions, diced carrot, and minced garlic to pot. Sauté until onions soften, 5 to 6 minutes. Return oxtails and any accumulated juices to pot. Add bouquet garni, then broth and wine. Bring to boil. Cover and simmer until meat is almost tender, adjusting heat occasionally to maintain gentle simmer, about 3 hours. Mix in mushrooms, shallots, carrot chunks, and whole garlic cloves. Increase heat and return to boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover pot and simmer gently until meat and vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes longer.
Tilt pot and spoon off any fat that rises to surface. Stir flour paste into stew. Simmer uncovered until sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool 1 hour. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. Rewarm over low heat before serving.
Where do oxtails come from?
Oxtails are just like they sound like, the tail of an ox. Oxtails are tails that have been skinned, with a thick meaty portion surrounding the bone marrow.
When you buy oxtails from the supermarket or butcher, often times the excess fat has been trimmed. If you find that your oxtails are extremely fatty, you may want to trim some of the excess fat.
Should I use fresh or frozen oxtails for oxtail stew?
Fresh is always best! I could go on and on, but if you have a choice, please choose fresh oxtails for rabo guisado.
Chinese Braised Oxtails: Recipe Instructions
Clean the oxtails and pat them dry. Heat oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat and brown them on all sides.
Remove the oxtails and set aside on a plate. To the pot, add the ginger, garlic, star anise, cloves, and bay leaves. Cook for about 2 minutes.
Now it’s time to add Shaoxing wine, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, rock sugar, water, and salt (careful with the salt, as the soy sauce is already quite salty).
Add the oxtails back to the pot, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce the heat to low.
Simmer for 1-1/2 hours. Uncover, and continue simmering for another 30 minutes until the meat is tender and most of the liquid has evaporated.
As it’s simmering, stir occasionally and add additional water if necessary to avoid sticking.
Serve your Chinese Braised oxtails along with plenty of white rice.
Don’t forget to drizzle that braised oxtail meat sauce over your rice!
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How to make oxtail stew
- Sear the oxtails: Heat the olive oil in a large braiser or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the oxtails with salt and pepper, and sear them on all sides until browned. You may need to do this in batches. Transfer the oxtails to a plate and set the oxtails aside.
- Sauté: Add the onion to the pot and cook until translucent and softened, 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and habanero, then stir and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the allspice, smoked paprika, soy sauce, tomato paste, and cook for 2-3 minutes until the paste browns slightly.
- Braise: Add the oxtails back to the pot. Stir in the beef broth, thyme, bay leaves and bring the pot to a boil. Turn the heat to low and cover with a lid slightly cracked. Simmer for 2 hours, remove the lid and stir in the butter beans, then simmer for another 30-45 minutes uncovered.
- Finish: Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Whisk the cornstarch with 1 tbsp water to create a slurry. Stir the slurry into the pot and increase the heat to medium, stirring until the mixture thickens. Garnish with freshly chopped green onion.
- 4 pounds oxtails, cut into 1-inch-thick pieces
- ½ teaspoon red wine vinegar
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons dry mustard
- Salt and pepper
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 3 carrots, sliced 1/2-inch thick
- 3 ribs celery, sliced 1/2-inch thick
- 2 leeks, trimmed, cut in half lengthwise, sliced 1/2-inch thick
- 1 turnip, peeled, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 5 cups low-sodium beef broth
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Place meat in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Add vinegar, cover bowl and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Drain pat dry.
Place a rack in the lower third of oven and preheat to 325ºF. In a large ziplock bag, mix flour, mustard, 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Warm 2 Tbsp. oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches, toss oxtail pieces in flour mixture, shake off excess and brown on all sides in pot, turning with tongs. Do not overcrowd the pan. Remove to a plate repeat with remaining pieces, adding more oil to pan as needed.
Pour wine into pan and cook for 3 minutes, stirring to scrape up browned bits from bottom. Add onions and garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomato paste cook for 1 minute. Return meat to pan and add carrots, celery, leeks, turnip, bay leaves and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover pot and place in oven. Cook until meat is very tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 3 hours.
Remove oxtail pieces to a plate to cool. Discard bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Skim fat off top of stew in pot. Pick meat off bones and return to pot discard bones and gristle. Rewarm stew over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper, if desired, and stir in parsley.