Oxtail was one of those things which was never cooked in our home while growing up (I don’t ever recall my mom cooking this back then), so it’s not something I learned to cook from the main culinary influences in my life… mom, dad, aunt and grandmothers. But the immigrant life is one in which you tend to associate with people who are similar to you and can relate to your struggles, so my friends were from other Caribbean islands. Partially living in each others homes, saw us not only learn about the food from each island, but we all grew a new appreciation for the diverseness of the Caribbean in general. Though the basic foundation to Caribbean food is the same, the end product and methods of preparation can differ.
This recipe for cooking oxtail with butter beans is one I picked up from a restaurant owner (had to beg d man to share) where I would go get my weekly fill of Caribbean food which I didn’t have to cook. I’m sure he didn’t tell me his secrets, but I did add a few things to give it my personal touch. BTW, did you know that the last Stewed Oxtail recipe I shared a while back is one of the more popular dishes I have on the site? See: Savory oxtail in a rich and thick gravy. Take a look at all the comments below it.
2lbs of oxtail (ask your butcher to cut it into 1 inch pieces)
1 tin of butter beans (lima)
5 cups of water
2 scallion (green onions)
1/2 a scotch bonnet pepper (I used a whole one)
3 cloves of garlic
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon of allspice
1/2 tablespoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
* You’ll need about 3 tablespoons of lime or lemon juice to wash the oxtail pieces with (use vinegar as well).
Place the cut pieces of oxtail in a bowl and pour the lime juice over it, give it a good stir and pour in some water. Wash each piece off, then drain. Rinse with cool water and pat dry. Now in a fairly large pan, heat the vegetable oil on high and brown the pieces of oxtail. Try not to crowd the pan or it will not brown properly and it will release a tons of liquid. I did mine in two batches.
While this was browning (takes about 15 minutes) I prepared the other ingredients (wash, peeled and chopped)
With the pieces of oxtail all browned, you may need an extra tablespoon of vegetable oil in the pan (not mentioned in the ingredients list above).. add the diced onion and garlic. Let that cook on medium heat for a few minutes. Then add back the pieces of oxtail and top with the herbs and vegetables.
Give that good stir, then add the salt, black pepper and allspice. Now top with the 5 cups of water (enough water to cover everything) and bring to a boil. When it starts boiling, reduce to as low as you can and have it at a gentle simmer. Cover the pot and let that simmer (braise) for about 2 hrs or until the meat is tender. We’d like to have the meat fall off the bones. Depending on the age of the oxtail it may take a bit longer for you. If you have a pressure cooker, this will save you a ton of cooking time. NOTE: If you’re using dried butter beans, now would be the time to put them in as well, so they too get tender.
Rinse the can of beans to remove the salty brine-like solution its packed in and add it to the pot. Cover and let cook for another 20 minutes.. until the beans are infused with the flaovours of the stewed oxtails and so that the gravy thickens up a bit. Be gently when handling the beans as they are very tender and can fall apart very easily. NOTE: I cheated a bit and added a 1/4 teaspoon of Caribbean style browning. But this is totally optional.. I wanted a nice caramel colour to my finished dish.
This is one of those dishes where you must have patience to allow it to slowly cook and do it’s thing.. to get tender. Besides this method or using a pressure cooker, I’m sure you can also add everything to a slow cooker (after you’ve browned the ox tail pieces) and let it cook slowly all day while you relax. This pot was enough to serve about 5 people with a side of rice and peas and a nice fresh green salad.
It’s that time again – we’re giving away the following book (see below) to one lucky person for the month of August. All you have to do is leave me a comment in the comments section below (please say something about this recipe) and your name will be automatically entered to win this fascinating book written by Judi Krogh. If you recall I did a feature on “Easy Cooking In the Caribbean” a few weeks back and with the kindness of Dallison and the Krogh family, we’re able to give out a copy to one lucky winner.
There are two bonus ways you can have your name entered in the contest, giving you 3 chances at winning. Along with leaving a comment below, go to the Facebook fan page and/or the Youtube cooking channel and leave a comment there. I don’t care what your comment is, but it would be nice if you could tell me what you like about Caribbean food and if the recipes I share are helpful.
Here are the rules pertaining to winning the copy of “Easy Cooking In The Caribbean”…
– contest is open to everyone globally
– there are 3 ways to enter your name (see above)
– 1 winner will be chosen at random (if you left 3 comments, your name will be entered 3 times)
– contest is open from August 11 – to midnight August 31.
– winner will be announced within 1 week of the official close date.
– the winner will have 1 week to contact us with mailing address
– we will cover all shipping expenses (standard mail)
I hope you take a moment to enter your name as I’d really like to mail this book out to you. It’s simple, free and a great way to experiment with some traditional and non-traditional Caribbean dishes in your kitchen. Judi left us a wonderful resource that reflects her lifetime passion for cooking and sharing meals with family and friends.
Oye! before you go… Remember you can watch the cooking videos on the recipe channel and we’d love to interact with you on our Facebook fan page. There’s a few thousand of us already causing commesse on there… so do check it out.