In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

Fork Tender Herb and Wine Braised Oxtails.

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Is there anything more comforting that fork tender oxtails served with a heaping pile of garlic mashed cassava (yams or potato will work also) on a chilly night, when you’re tired from a long day? Yes, there is. Oxtails fork tender stewed in a rich herb and wine sauce! The flavors of this dish will surely impress you, your family and the lucky friends you invite over for dinner. While oxtail is a classic cut of meat to cook in the Caribbean, we rarely ever use wine in our cooking so this may seem a bit strange for my Caribbean people. Nevertheless… a stunning dish.

You’ll Need…

3 lbs oxtails (cut and trimmed)
2 scallions (chopped)
2 tablespoon veg oil
2 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon black pepper (divided)
3/4 tablespoon salt (divided)
1 tablespoon tomato puree (concentrate)
2-3 cups beef stock
1 stalk celery (minced)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 large carrot (sliced)
1 pimento pepper (minced)
1 cayenne pepper
1 cup red wine
4 sprigs thyme
3/4 teaspoon allspice
10-12 pearl onions
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

* lime or lemon for washing the oxtail pieces

Have your butcher cut the oxtails into 1.5 inch pieces as you kitchen knife will struggle to do so. Wash with cool water and the juice of a lime or lemon, drain and pat dry with paper towels. Heat the oil in a heavy (oven-proof) pan on a medium heat. Dust the oxtail pieces with the flour, then add a 1/3 of it and brown on all sides. Remove and repeat until all the pieces of oxtails get a little color. The flour will help to develop a nice thick gravy later, along with helping us achieve some color.

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Remove all the oxtail pieces from the pan and set aside. Turn the heat down to low (add a bit more oil in the pan if it’s dry) and go in with the celery, scallions, pimento pepper and garlic. Cook for about 2-3 minutes, then add the tomato puree and stir well. If you can’t find pimento (aka seasoning) pepper, add a bit of diced bell pepper.

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Now add the red wine to deglaze the pan and cook out until it’s back to a relatively dry pan.  After which you can crank up the heat and add the rest of the ingredients, followed by the beef stock. Bring to a boil.

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Cover with foil and place on the middle rack in preheated 375 F oven. Be sure to keep an eye on things, in the event you need to add a bit more beef stock. After 3 hrs and 15 minutes the oxtails should be fork tender and you’ll have a thick and rich gravy. Taste for salt and adjust. Keep in mind that the beef stock you use may have a sodium element to it. Try not to break the cayenne pepper or risk the entire dish becoming peppery.. unless that’s what you want.  Do remember to skim off any fat (oxtails are notoriously fatty) and discard (not down your sink).

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A classic oxtail stew, rich with flavors of herbs and wine. Watch the video below to see how I made a quick gremolata which not only helps to cut the fattiness of the oxtails, but elevates the dish with a bright fresh finish.

Do you own a copy of my cookbook ?- The Vibrant Caribbean Pot 100 Traditional And Fusion recipes Vol 2

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  1. Sa Wa
    December 12, 2021 / 9:41 pm

    Had a fennel bulb that needed a job, so I peeled back his yucky parts (had become a tad oldish on the outside since Thanksgiving — but please: props to a root veg: that daddy still nice!) and minced that dog in with celery and green onion. Then: added a couple carrot tops (greens) — they needed a home — at the point of adding carrots etc. Used a smidge more tomato paste than called for and sautéed things 10 mins — just love that deep goodness. I’ve done this recipe before and don’t remember how fastidiously I followed it then, but now, as yummies brew in that 375 F oven, I anticipate high level yummy.

  2. Portia Y Paige
    May 30, 2019 / 8:52 pm

    Can we use any brand of Merlot or red wine

  3. Ricardo Butler
    May 19, 2019 / 1:24 am

    Can I use an instant pot instead of the oven?

  4. Sue
    May 12, 2019 / 6:27 pm

    I followed the recipe exactly and cooked for 3-1/2 hours. They came out hard and tough. Couldn’t even stick a fork in them. The taste was good just not edible. Even the small ones were tough. Very disappointing after spending $17 on oxtails. I will try putting them in my crockpot tomorrow and cook all day. Very disappointing.

    • admin
      May 14, 2019 / 7:03 am

      the oxtails you purchased were old or from an old cow.. there’s no way it should be tough after braising for 3 hours. I’d complain to my butcher if I were you.

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