Have you ever had oxtails? Most people I know haven’t. As with most tough cuts, oxtail are best slow cooked for several hours.
Where does oxtail meat come from? Oxtail refers to a cow’s tail that weighs between 7 and 8 pounds (3.18-3.6kgs).
Typically, the skin from the cow’s tail is removed, and then it is cut into pieces. Each of the sections has a tailbone that contains marrow.
This cut is fatty, bony and often tough, and it is best prepared through stewing, braising, and boiling to make soup. A relatively long time is required to cook it, but this oxtail recipe is so simple.
Everyone can eat it regardless of their age, gender or race. It often features in various cuisines globally. Here is the tastiest stewed oxtail recipe South African recipe for you and all your loved ones.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours 10 minutes
To serve: 4 to 5 people
- 4 pounds (1.8kg) fresh oxtail
- ¼ cup cooking oil, preferably olive oil or any other flavourless vegetable cooking oil
- 1 large red onion
- 4 cloves of finely chopped garlic
- 2 teaspoons fresh crushed ginger
- 100g (3.5 oz) canned crushed tomatoes/ 3 large juicy fully ripened fresh tomatoes, crushed
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 sprig thyme/ 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 green capsicum, julienned
- 2 scallions (green onions)
- 1 Maggi cube/ 1 beef cube
- 1 teaspoon ground Spanish paprika
- 1 Habanero pepper (optional)
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper (optional)
- 1 bunch fresh parsley/ coriander to garnish
- Salt (to taste)
Clean the oxtail well under running water. In a medium pot, place the oxtail pieces and add enough water to cover them. Add 2 minced cloves of garlic, one chopped scallion, a dash of salt and 1 teaspoon of ginger. Bring to a boil, and then allow to simmer under medium to low heat for at least 1 hour and 30 minutes.
NOTE: The ginger and garlic assist in softening the meat as well as enhancing its flavour. Alternatively, one may pressure cook the oxtails for about 40 minutes to save on energy and time. The stock that remains after straining the meat is reserved for later use. The fatty layer at the top may be skimmed off or not, depending on one’s preference.
2. In another pot, add the oil and let it heat under medium-high heat. Once hot, add in the pre-boiled oxtail pieces without crowding the pan and allow them to brown on each side for about 5 minutes. This may be done in two batches. After that, set aside in a bowl.
3. In the same pot, add the chopped red onions and allow them to cook till golden brown. If no oil is left, a dash of cooking oil may be added. If there are small pieces of burned meat in the pot, worry not. They contribute to the rich flavour of the final dish.
4. Add in the remaining crushed garlic and crushed ginger and fry for about 2 minutes with constant stirring to avoid burning the garlic. Add in the pre-boiled and browned oxtail pieces.
5. Add in the canned or fresh tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, and all the spices (fresh/dried thyme, black pepper, paprika, curry powder, Habanero pepper, and Maggi cube.) Stir well to avoid sticking to the pan. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes to allow the tomatoes to cook well while the spices to release their flavours and aroma.
6. Once the sauce is well cooked, add the stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to low and allow to simmer for an additional 30 to 40 minutes to let all flavours blend well. Stir occasionally and add more water, if needed.
7. Add in the remaining chopped scallions and green capsicum. Taste and adjust the seasoning accordingly. The soup should be thick and saucy. Turn off the heat.
8. Sprinkle the fresh coriander or parsley.
9. Serve hot as a part of the main course. Enjoy the rich blend of flavours in the oxtail stew.
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