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Oxtail Stew

(recipe, Robin Mather)


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Introduction

For many years, oxtails were hard to find, and expensive when you could find them. Now I see them regularly in even the smallest markets, and they are quite inexpensive at Geukes Market. If you've never cooked them, this recipe is an excellent way to start. The large amount of bone lends a silky richness to the stew that can't be matched by using chunks of beef. Like all stews, this is good the day you make it, but it's really best if you can refrigerate it overnight and reheat to serve the next day.

Ingredients

  1. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  2. Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  3. 3 lb. oxtails
  4. 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  5. 2 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
  6. 1 large onion, halved lengthwise and sliced lengthwise ¼-inch thick
  7. ½ cup red wine
  8. 2 cups diced tomatoes with juice
  9. 1 cup beef broth, plus more as needed
  10. 2 bay leaves
  11. 1 tsp. dried thyme, crumbled
  12. ½ tsp. dried rosemary, crumbled
  13. 1 lb. carrots, peeled and chopped into large chunks
  14. 3 lb. potatoes, peeled and chopped into large chunks

Steps

  1. Put the flour in a heavy-duty zip-top bag and season it generously with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add the oxtails to the bag and shake to coat thoroughly with flour on all sides. Transfer the floured oxtails to a plate. Discard the flour.
  2. Heat the oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the oxtails and brown on all sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the oxtails to a new plate and set aside.
  3. Add the garlic and onion to the stockpot and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and stir to scrape up any browned bits. Cook until the wine has almost all evaporated, about 5 minutes.
  4. Return the oxtails to the pot. Add the tomatoes and enough beef broth to cover. Break the bay leaves in half and tuck them into the pot. Add the thyme and rosemary. Bring to a boil, decrease the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 2 to 2½ hours, or until the meat is nearly tender.
  5. Add the carrots and potatoes. Cover and simmer for 45 to 60 minutes longer, until the meat is tender and the vegetables are cooked through. Remove the bay leaves and serve immediately.

Note

Culinate editor's notes: You will have a good deal of excess seasoned flour. Save it (in the freezer, if you like) for seasoning other meats before browning. Also, if you have the time to make this dish a day ahead, remove the meat from the oxtail bones and discard the bones before reheating and serving.