Oxtail Stew

3:10 pm on 13 April 2012


  • 12 pieces of oxtail
  • 1 small piece of bacon bone
  • 6 - 8 small onions whole, peeled
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 cm cubes
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 6 whole peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ bottle red wine
  • ½ glass port
  • 2 Tbl flour
  • 1 Tbl oil
  • salt


1.   In a heavy stove-top capable casserole with the oil, or a frying pan on a low to moderate heat, carefully brown the oxtail segments on all side. They need to be well browned, slowly. The larger segments are very fatty and a slow browning will drive out a lot of the fat. Brown the segments in batches and, if you are using a frying pan transfer the oxtail segments to a casserole, or if browning in a casserole, set the browned segments aside. The browning is critical to the success of the dish. The better the browning, the better the flavor of the finished dish.

2. When all the oxtails are browned, tip off most of the fat and add the vegetables. Lightly brown them. Then add the flour and cook for a further minute. Add 2 C of water. Carefully scrape all the brownings from the bottom of the pan and into the liquid. Especially if you are using a frying pan and transferring to a casserole.

3.Combine the oxtails, the vegetables and the browning liquid in an ovenproof dish with a tight fitting lid.  Add the red wine, the bay leaves and peppercorns. Cover and place in a 170 C oven for an hour and twenty minutes. After an hour, take from the oven and add the port and ¾ tsp of salt. Return to the oven for another half an hour. If you consider the liquid in the casserole to be too thin, leave the lid off for this last half hour. If a great deal of the liquid has evaporated and the sauce is too thick, add a little water at the same time as you add the port. It will depend on the dimensions of and how tight fitting the lid is on your casserole dish.

4. Check seasoning and serve with mashed potatoes.

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm

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