Incredible Oxtail Stew Recipe

Photo of a pot of oxtail stew

Mmmm, smells delicious!

My daughter’s daycare held an International Day and many parents cooked delicacies from their homelands. One such dish was Oxtail Stew, which I have republished below. The stew meat was incredibly tender and flavorful.

According to the Unknown Chef, Oxtail Stew is from Europe, where the people bred oxen, which was a heavier breed of cattle, and needed recipes to make the tough meat tender. Stewing does the trick. This is more of a middle class dish as the rich got the prime cuts and the poor got the offal, trim and tougher parts.

This recipe was sent to us from Andries Dreyer, Global Security Director, World Vision International, whose son is a classmate of my daughter.


  • 3 lbs oxtails with separated joints
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cans of Butter beans
  • 1 can of fancy French cut Green beans
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 2 cups stock (chicken or beef)*
  • 2 cups of red wine
  • 3 whole cloves garlic, peel still on
  • One bay leaf
  • Pinch of thyme
  • Parsley
  • 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, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper

Step 1. – Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 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.

Step 2. – Add the chopped onion, carrot, all beans 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.

Step 3. – One hour before the meat is done, heat oven on 350°F. 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.

Step 4. – 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 overnight. The next day, scrape off the fat, reheat and then remove the meat from the dish.

Step 5. – 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. Add some chopped parsley before serving.

Yield: Serves 4-6.

Happy cooking!

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