Slow braised oxtail cooked in a delicious, rich sauce is pull-apart tender, unctuous and perfect served on a bed of creamy mashed potatoes.
Oxtail cooked low and slow is kind of a big deal in my family. The unctuous meat cooked until fall-apart tender is the stuff cravings are made of. We love it for cold days when you need something warm and comforting and it’s the perfect dish to cook for a crowd. It’s also the kind of recipe that can be made in a slow cooker, Instant Pot, oven or on the stove. My dad most often cooks it in a traditional “Potjie”. ‘n Potjie is a three-legged cast iron pot set over coals. The most delicious stews are cooked in this large vessel over many hours. However you make this, you won’t be disappointed. It’s one of my favorite recipes and I’m sure it will become one of yours too.
How to cook oxtails
Oxtail is a tough cut of meat full of connective tissue that needs to be cooked low and slow in liquid to break down properly. After browning the meat well, braise in liquid (stock, red wine) with aromatics. Onion, garlic, carrots, celery, tomatoes and herbs all add flavor to the oxtail and the sauce. Allow to cook until the the meat pulls away from the bone easily.
How long to cook oxtail?
Oxtail will take approximately 2-3 hours to cook slowly in liquid set over medium-low heat, depending on the size of the oxtails. You can also cook oxtail in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker for approximately 45 minutes. In a slow cooker, oxtail can take up to 10 hours to cook.
What to serve with braised oxtail?
Comforting stew recipes
- Slow braised beef short ribs with cheesy mash
- Instant Pot Guinness beef stew
- Slow-braised lamb shanks
Slow braised oxtail
- 2 kg Oxtail
- 4 large carrots peeled and finely chopped
- `1 onion finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery finely chopped
- 5 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 3 Bay Leaves
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 1 cup red wine
- 400 g (14oz) chopped tomatoes
- 4 cups beef stock
- salt and pepper to taste
- Season the oxtail generously with salt. In a large pot set over high heat, brown the oxtail in batches.
- Remove and set aside. Add the onions, celery and carrots and cook until golden and just starting to soften.
- Add the garlic and herbs and sauté for another minute.
- Add the red wine and allow to reduce slightly.
- Add the tomatoes and the oxtail back to the pot.
- Pour in the stock, just enough to cover the oxtail. Reserve the rest. Season with salt and pepper.
- Bring up to a boil then reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for 2-3 hours. Check every 45 minutes if the oxtail needs more stock and top up as needed.
- Remove the lid for the last hour of cooking to allow the sauce to reduce.
- Serve the soft oxtail with mashed potatoes, polenta or rice.