Oxtail Stew Jamaican Style

Oxtail stew is an old style home cooked meal, a remnant of harder times when every inch of a beast was consumed.

Much like lamb shanks, dishes like oxtail stew are making a comeback as people rediscover the joy of slow cooked foods. Oxtail and lamb shanks, never regarded as prime cuts, have had resurgence in popularity and are once again finding their way onto supermarket shelves and many Australians will remember childhood meals of delicious slow cooked oxtail.

In Australia oxtail would traditionally be replaced with beef and being a tough and well marbled meat needs long, slow cooking.

As with any stew the best flavours are infused by properly browning the ingredients prior to cooking. The use of wine or tomatoes introduces a natural acid which helps break down the sinew of the tougher cuts of meat.

This recipe has a slight Caribbean or Jamaican influence and could be enjoyed with a glass of red wine and a side dish of old world, diced and pan roasted root vegetables such as potatoes, parsnips and turnips.

oxtail stew
Ingredients for 4

1kg oxtail knuckles trimmed of excess fat

2 tablespoons cornflour

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly crushed black pepper

4 rashers bacon, diced into 5mm pieces ( ½ cm)

2 medium onions, finely sliced

2 clove garlic crushed

4 carrots peeled and diced in 10mm pieces (1cm)

1 cup peeled chopped tomatoes

2 cups chicken stock

2 stalks spring onions finely sliced

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 sprig thyme

1 bay leaf

1 can butter (lima) beans


Dry oxtail well on absorbent paper and coat with cornflour.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a heavy pan and brown oxtail on all sides and reserve.

Fry bacon until crisp and reserve.

Brown the sliced onion until a deep rich colour.

Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute until highly aromatic.

Return the oxtail and bacon and add the bay leaf and thyme.

Add the tomatoes and cover with the chicken stock.

Cover and simmer gently for 3½ hours or until oxtail is almost tender.

Stir gently every 30 minutes or so.

Check, add more liquid if necessary and adjust seasoning.

Add the beans, carrots, parsley and spring onions and simmer for another 30 minutes.

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