Homemade Oxtail Stew is a rich, flavoursome stew with meltingly tender, falling-off-the-bone meat that’s been slow cooked lovingly. So much better than anything shop bought!
First published Jan 2012. Updated Sep 2019.
Oxtail Stew has got to be one of my all time favourites, perfect in cold weather, but I’ve been known to make this in summertime too!
I still remember the first time I had it, with my Dad, in Singapore, at a place called Captain’s Cabin, a bar/restaurant popular with Singapore Airlines cabin crew. Not that my dad worked for the airlines!
There really is something so satisfying about this dark, rich almost gelatinous stew that warms and fills. Freshly baked bread to soak up all that sauce is a must!
Oxtail Stew Variations
Needless to say, there are many variations of the oxtail stew and many theories as to its origin; French, American, British, Chinese, and so on. Each oxtail recipe has its own local slant, with different herbs, spices and flavouring.
One of my favourites is the Indonesian oxtail soup, made with cumin, coriander and cinnamon and served with sambal (spicy condiment, click for recipe).
The Indonesian Oxtail Stew is called Sup Buntut. Let’s translate that for a laugh.
Sup = soup
Buntut = one’s bottom!
Homemade Oxtail Stew Recipe
Homemade oxtail stew is a very simple recipe. It may take a few hours, but the initial hands on time is just 20 minutes or so. The rest of the cooking time is just about leaving the stew to simmer, until the meat is tender and falling of the bone.
This is how we do it:
- We brown the meat and vegetables.
- Add the flour and wine (if using).
- Add the stock and cook away for 4 hours.
- Finish with parsley and some butter.
What did I tell ya?
Where does Oxtail Meat come from?
Oxtail meat used to come from the tail of the ox, hence the name. These days, it comes from the tail of the cow.
The tail is skinned, cleaned and chopped. Oxtails are bony, and sold, cut into sections. Each section has a certain amount of meat and fat surrounding it, with marrow in the bone.
The long cooking time allows the fibres in the tough meat to break down, resulting in a deliciously flavoured stew with tender meat. The fat and marrow contribute to the richness of the stew.
Yep, leave the calorie counter at the door!
Can you Make Ahead Oxtail Stew?
Absolutely! In fact, just like curries, it will taste so much better the next day, the second and the 3rd day!
Homemade oxtail stew will keep happily in a cold fridge for about 4 days. It also freezes well.
How to Serve Oxtail Stew?
With any of the following, although, it really is up to you:
- Any kind of bread – baguette, ciabatta, sliced, rolls
- Garlic bread – can’t be faulted!
- Mash Potato – the perfect accompaniment
- Rice – always works too
Shall we get our aprons on?
More Soups and Stews on LinsFood
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Homemade Oxtail Stew (it’s so much easier than you think!)
- 2 Tbsp EV olive oil
- 4 oxtail pieces
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1 leek chopped
- 2 large carrots chopped
- 2 celery sticks chopped
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 bouquet garni
- 1 tsp mustard
- 1 Tbsp AP flour
- 2 Tbsp sundried tomato paste
- 1 generous cup red wine
- 500 ml 2 cups beef stock
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- a handful of parsley finely chopped
- 30 g (1 oz) salted butter
- Heat the olive oil a large saucepan on high heat. Brown the oxtail pieces all over (top, bottom, sides) for about 10 minutes.
- Add the vegetables and brown for a further 5 minutes.
- Add the flour, giving everything a good stir, mixing the flour in.
- When the flour is fully mixed in, add the red wine, stir then add the stock, mustard and tomato paste.
- Let it come to boil, then simmer for about 4 hours, you want to get to the stage where the meat is falling off the bone. Give it more time, 30 minutes more perhaps, if the meat is not quite falling off the bone.
- When the meat is done, check for seasoning, add some salt if needed and freshly ground black pepper to taste, because pepper makes everything taste better!
- Turn the heat off and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
- Stir in the tablespoon of butter and sprinkle the chopped parsley all over, and serve. You could also dish up, then drop a small amount of butter in each bowl, and top with the parsley.. Leave the diner to stir in the butter.