Slow-Braised Oxtail Stew Recipe

Like lobster and oysters, oxtail was once considered a poor cut of meat, but in recent years has become a particularly sought-after ingredient. In fact, you'll find that butchers often very quickly run out of this highly prized cut of meat due to its rise in popularity with professional chefs and home cooks alike.

Oxtail is simply a cut of beef from the tail of an ox or cow and it is most often sold cut into chunks, though it can also be bought in one large piece. Due to the high collagen content found in oxtail, along with the fat content, bones, and marrow, oxtails naturally lend themselves to slow stewing to release all of that delicious flavor. The taste is luxuriously rich and meaty; once you've had a mouthful you'll wonder why oxtail was ever considered to be a lesser cut of beef.

This slow-braised oxtail stew, created by recipe developer Jennine Rye, is a rich and hearty dish that is easy to put together with a little time and patience. The most important work happens in the oven as the oxtail is left to slowly braise for a few hours, resulting in melt-in-your-mouth beef, and a thick, flavorful stew. It pairs beautifully with simple sides such as mashed potatoes or cauliflower, and some fresh steamed greens.

Gather the ingredients for this slow-braised oxtail stew

To make this oxtail stew, you'll first need to gather the ingredients. You will need oxtail, frying oil, an onion, celery, carrots, garlic, rosemary, thyme, plain flour, cloves, red wine, canned tomatoes, beef stock, and salt and pepper. This recipe uses fresh rosemary and thyme, but these can easily be switched out for the dried version of the herbs instead if the fresh version cannot be found. Just make sure to watch the quantities; Rye reminds us that dried herbs are much more potent than fresh herbs, so you'll want to use a smaller amount if you are making that substitution. 

Brown the oxtail pieces

Begin this recipe by browning the oxtail. This is a small but important step, and is done to add a beautiful rich and caramelized flavor to the finished dish. To do this, heat up oil in a large, heavy bottomed casserole dish or pan. Liberally season the oxtail, and then add it to the hot pan. Keep turning the oxtail pieces until they are browned all over, and then remove them from the pan and set them to one side. At this stage, it is not important to make sure the oxtail are cooked through; there'll be plenty of time for that in the oven.

Begin the stew

Before adding the vegetables to the casserole dish or pan, you may want to deglaze it using a little of the beef stock. To do this, add some of the beef stock to the hot pan and gently agitate the bottom of the pan to release the delicious caramelized beef flavors, Rye notes. Remove the liquid from the pan and set it to one side, to be added at a later stage.

Then, add a little more frying oil to the pan and sauté the onion, celery and carrots until softened. Add the garlic, herbs and cloves to the pan and allow them to cook for a few minutes until fragrant.

Assemble the stew

Add flour to the pan and stir it in until all the vegetables are well coated; this will act as a thickener for the stew. Then, add the canned tomatoes, red wine, stock, and liquid used to deglaze the pan to the casserole dish, along with the browned oxtails. Place a lid on the casserole dish and put it into a preheated oven for 3 hours to slowly braise.

When the oxtail stew is ready to be served, it can either be dished up bone-in, or you can easily pull the meat from the bones and serve it boneless. Rye says that any leftovers can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container and should be carefully and slowly reheated for best results.

Slow-Braised Oxtail Stew Recipe
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Learn how to make this slow-braised oxtail stew recipe that allows the rich and meaty flavor to release over time for a hearty dish that's worth the wait.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Serving of oxtail stew
Total time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
  • 4 pounds oxtail
  • Salt and pepper
  • Frying oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 8 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 ½ cups red wine
  • 1 (14-ounce) tin of tomatoes
  • 2 ½ cups beef stock
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Heat up 1 tablespoon of frying oil in a cast iron casserole dish with a lid, to medium-high heat. Season the oxtails with salt and pepper, and then brown them on all sides. Once the oxtails have reached a beautiful golden brown color, remove them from the pan and set them on a plate to one side.
  2. Reduce the heat of the pan to medium heat. You may want to deglaze the pan at this point with a little liquid, to get the most of the residue left behind. To do this, pour a little of the beef stock into the hot pan and agitate it around the pan to lift the delicious beef flavors. Transfer this liquid to a separate jug and place to one side.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of frying oil to the pan and then add the chopped onion, chopped celery, and chopped carrots. Sauté the vegetables for 5 to 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent and softened. The carrots will still be hard, but that is not a problem -- they will soften as they stew.
  4. Add the garlic, herbs, and cloves to the frying pan, and continue to cook everything for a few minutes until it is fragrant.
  5. Add the flour and mix it in, before pouring in the wine and the canned tomatoes. Mix everything together, then place the oxtails back into the casserole dish and add the beef stock, along with the liquid used to deglaze the pan.
  6. Place the lid on the top of the casserole dish and then place the stew into the oven for 3 hours. Check periodically and add a splash of water if the stew is looking a little dry. When the stew is done, the oxtail meat will fall off the bones. It can be served bone-in, or the meat can be shredded and mixed into the stew to be served boneless.
Calories per Serving 922
Total Fat 63.6 g
Saturated Fat 22.9 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 199.6 mg
Total Carbohydrates 14.4 g
Dietary Fiber 3.3 g
Total Sugars 4.7 g
Sodium 1,397.7 mg
Protein 60.1 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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