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How to Cook Oxtail

INGREDIENTS

Oxtail segments (around 1kg)
Cooking oil (such as vegetable or olive oil)
Aromatics (onions, carrots, celery, garlic)
Herbs and spices (bay leaves, thyme, rosemary)
Liquid (beef broth, red wine, or a combination)
Salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

Cooking oxtail is a delightful culinary experience, but it requires time and patience to bring out its rich flavours and tender texture. Here's a basic method for cooking oxtail:

Preparation:

Begin by rinsing the oxtail segments under cold water and patting them dry with paper towels.
Season the oxtail with salt and pepper. You can also coat them lightly with flour for a golden crust when searing.

Searing:

Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add a few tablespoons of cooking oil.
Once the oil is hot, carefully add the oxtail pieces and sear them on all sides until they turn brown and develop a nice crust. This step enhances the flavour of the dish.

Aromatics and Vegetables:

Remove the seared oxtail from the pot and set them aside.
In the same pot, add chopped onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Sauté them until they become soft and fragrant.
You can also add herbs like bay leaves, thyme, and rosemary for extra flavour.

Deglazing:

Return the seared oxtail to the pot with the aromatics and vegetables.
Pour in your choice of liquid, such as beef broth, red wine, or a combination of both. This will create a flavourful braising liquid.
Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits (fond) from the bottom of the pot; this adds depth to the sauce.

Simmering:

Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.
Cover the pot with a lid and let the oxtail cook slowly for 2 to 3 hours. Some recipes may require even longer cooking times to achieve maximum tenderness.
Stir occasionally and check the liquid level; add more liquid if needed to keep the oxtail partially submerged.

Finishing:

After the oxtail becomes tender and the meat easily separates from the bone, remove them from the pot.
If the braising liquid is too thin, you can reduce it by simmering it uncovered until it thickens to your liking.
Return the oxtail to the pot to heat through and absorb some of the sauce's flavours.

Serving:

Oxtail is often served with side dishes like mashed potatoes, rice, or vegetables.
Garnish with fresh herbs and a sprinkle of lemon zest if desired.
The slow-cooked oxtail will be incredibly tender, and the braising liquid will have developed a rich, savoury flavour. Whether you choose to make oxtail stew, soup, or another delightful dish, your taste buds are in for a treat.


 

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Famous chefs often have their own unique takes on using oxtail in creative and delicious ways. Here are a few suggestions from renowned chefs:

Braised Oxtail Ragu by Gordon Ramsay:

Gordon Ramsay's recipe for braised oxtail ragu is a true comfort food. He slow-cooks oxtail until it's meltingly tender and then combines it with a rich tomato-based sauce. Serve it over pasta or creamy polenta for a hearty Italian-inspired dish.

Oxtail Pho by Anthony Bourdain:

The late Anthony Bourdain was known for his love of global cuisine. Try his take on oxtail pho, a Vietnamese noodle soup. Simmer oxtail with spices like star anise and cinnamon, then serve the flavourful broth with rice noodles, fresh herbs, and bean sprouts.

Oxtail Tacos by Aaron Sanchez:

Aaron Sanchez, a renowned Mexican-American chef, suggests using oxtail in tacos. Braise the oxtail until it's tender and shred the meat. Serve it in warm tortillas with traditional taco toppings like salsa, onions, and cilantro.

Oxtail Stifado by Jamie Oliver:

Jamie Oliver's oxtail stifado is a Greek-inspired dish featuring oxtail cooked with tomatoes, red wine, and fragrant spices. It's a hearty and aromatic stew that pairs wonderfully with crusty bread or rice.

Korean Braised Oxtail Soup by Roy Choi:

Roy Choi, known for his fusion of Korean and American flavours, offers a recipe for Korean braised oxtail soup. This dish features oxtail simmered with Korean spices, garlic, and ginger, resulting in a deeply flavoured and comforting soup. Garnish with spring onions and enjoy with a side of kimchi.

Oxtail Croquettes by Marcus Samuelsson:

Marcus Samuelsson suggests transforming braised oxtail into croquettes. After braising the oxtail until tender, shred the meat and mix it with breadcrumbs and seasonings. Form the mixture into croquettes, coat with breadcrumbs, and fry until golden brown for a crispy, savoury treat.

Oxtail and Guinness Pie by Nigella Lawson:

Nigella Lawson's oxtail and Guinness pie is a British-inspired dish that combines slow-cooked oxtail with rich, dark Guinness beer. The tender oxtail is encased in flaky pastry, creating a comforting and indulgent pie.

Oxtail Birria Tacos by Rick Bayless:

Rick Bayless, an expert in Mexican cuisine, suggests using oxtail in birria tacos. Birria is a traditional Mexican stew, and when made with oxtail, it adds a rich, meaty flavour to the dish. Serve the birria in tacos with consommé for dipping.

These chef-inspired oxtail recipes showcase the versatility of this cut and how it can be used to create a wide range of culinary delights, from Italian pasta dishes to Mexican tacos and beyond. Feel free to explore these recipes to discover your favorite way to enjoy oxtail prepared by the pros!


Oxtail's rich and robust flavour pairs exceptionally well with a variety of side dishes and accompaniments. Here are some good pairings for oxtail:

Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes are a classic choice to accompany oxtail. Their smooth texture complements the tender, braised meat and soaks up the sauce.

Polenta: Soft, creamy polenta is another excellent starch to serve with oxtail. It provides a hearty base for the dish and can absorb the delicious braising liquid.

Rice: A bed of fluffy white rice or fragrant basmati rice can be a neutral canvas for the flavourful oxtail sauce. Try serving oxtail over rice with a drizzle of the sauce for a comforting meal.

Risotto: A rich and creamy risotto, such as a mushroom or Parmesan risotto, pairs beautifully with oxtail. The creamy rice complements the meat's richness.

Pasta: Oxtail ragu is a popular Italian dish where shredded oxtail is served with pasta. Choose a sturdy pasta like pappardelle or fettuccine to stand up to the hearty meat and sauce.

Bread: Crusty bread or a baguette is a simple yet satisfying pairing with oxtail. Use it to sop up the flavourful juices and sauce.

Vegetables: Steamed or roasted vegetables, such as broccoli, asparagus, or green beans, can provide a refreshing contrast to the richness of oxtail. Their vibrant colours and textures can add balance to the plate.

Pickled Vegetables: Tangy and pickled vegetables, like pickled onions, gherkins, or coleslaw, can cut through the richness of the oxtail and provide a refreshing bite.

Coleslaw: A side of coleslaw with its crisp, cool, and slightly tangy profile can offer a refreshing counterpoint to the hearty oxtail.

Citrus: A fresh citrus salad or a squeeze of lemon or lime over the oxtail can brighten up the flavours and provide a zesty contrast.

Remember that the best pairing ultimately depends on your personal taste preferences. Whether you opt for traditional sides like mashed potatoes or get creative with different grains, vegetables, or condiments, the goal is to create a balanced and satisfying meal that enhances the savoury goodness of oxtail.

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Preparation Time: 10-15 Minutes
Cooking Time: 2-3 hours

Hot Tips

Check Liquid Levels: Periodically check the liquid levels during cooking to ensure the oxtail remains partially submerged. Add more liquid if necessary to prevent the meat from drying out.

Flavour Development: Oxtail dishes often benefit from improved taste if allowed to rest and cool overnight before reheating and serving. This gives the flavours time to meld and intensify.

Pairings

Pairing beverages with oxtail can be a delightful experience that enhances the flavours of this rich and hearty dish. Here are some drink options that pair well with oxtail:

Red Wine: Oxtail's deep and savoury flavours are beautifully complemented by a robust red wine. Consider pairing it with a red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, or Syrah. These wines have the structure and tannins to stand up to the meat's richness.

Zinfandel: Zinfandel, known for its ripe fruit flavours and peppery notes, can be an excellent choice for oxtail dishes. Its spicy undertones can harmonize with the meat's depth of flavour.

Rioja: A Spanish Rioja, especially a Reserva or Gran Reserva, can be a great match for oxtail. These wines often have a balanced combination of fruitiness and oak aging that pairs well with the dish.

Shiraz/Syrah: Syrah, known as Shiraz in some regions, offers bold fruitiness and peppery spice that can complement oxtail's richness. It's a classic pairing for hearty meat dishes.

Barolo: If you're looking for something more upscale, a Barolo from Italy can be an exceptional choice. This wine's complexity and tannic structure can elevate the dining experience with oxtail.

Port Wine: For a luxurious and indulgent pairing, consider a vintage or tawny port wine. The sweetness and depth of port can complement the meat's richness and add a touch of elegance to the meal.

Stout or Porter Beer: Dark beers like stout or porter can be fantastic companions to oxtail dishes, especially in stews or braised preparations. They have roasted malt flavours that harmonize with the meat's complexity.

Soda or Sparkling Water: If you prefer non-alcoholic options, a sparkling water with a twist of lemon or lime or a high-quality root beer can be refreshing and pair well with oxtail.

Herbal Tea: For a soothing and aromatic pairing, consider serving a cup of herbal tea with your oxtail dish. Mint, chamomile, or rosemary-infused tea can complement the flavours and aid in digestion.