Braised Oxtail is one of my absolute favourite dishes as a meat eater! I enjoy the rich gravy that coats this beautifully tender meat that ready to just fall off the bone at any moment… serving this with fluffy mash, creamy polenta, mielie meal or rice – I mean this list goes on and on. Pasta is a good one too!

So, I decide to serve it with some parmesan polenta this time round. Polenta is a type of cornmeal made from ground flint corn that shares its name with a dish of cornmeal porridge that originated among farmers in Northern Italy. Here’s the Creamy Parmesan Polenta recipe.

Beef oxtail, renowned for its rich flavor and tender meat, has a history steeped in culinary tradition. Originating from the practice of utilizing the entire animal for food, oxtail has been a staple in many cultures for centuries. In medieval British cuisine, oxtail was a popular ingredient in hearty stews and soups, valued for its robust flavor and ability to add depth to dishes.

Similarly, in African and Caribbean cuisines, oxtail is often braised or stewed with aromatic spices and vegetables to create savory, comforting meals. Despite its name, oxtail is typically made from the tail of cattle rather than oxen, showcasing the resourcefulness and ingenuity of cooks throughout history in creating delicious meals from humble ingredients.

Below the recipe you’ll find the recipe notes guiding you on any additional details regarding the ingredients used. Enjoy making these, and as always, happy big tasty bites, tastebuds.

Braised Oxtail

A meaty, fall-of-the-bone stew that delivers a fatty, rich and flavoursim stew that's best served with any starch of your choice. It's the perfect dish to make when you're in no rush to serve a deliciously hearty meal!
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: oxtail, stew
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Servings: 4 people
Author: The Big Tasty Bite


  • 2 large saucepans


Oxtail Stew

  • 4-6 tbsp olive oil or neutral oil or ghee
  • 1.5-2 kg beef oxtail cut in to pieces
  • 3 medium white onion diced
  • 6-8 garlic cloves
  • 1-2 medium chilies diced
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 1 cup red wine or 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme or herb of choice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 medium carrots peeled and cut in to chunks
  • 2-3 medium celery stalks diced
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper


  • Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Season the oxtails with salt and pepper, and sear them on all sides until browned. You may need to do this in batches. Transfer the oxtails to a plate and set aside.
  • Add the onion, garlic and chili to the same pot and cook until translucent and slightly charred, about 3-5mins. Add in the tomato paste, and cook for 2-3 minutes until the paste browns slightly.
  • Stir in the beef broth, wine or vinegar, thyme, bay leaves, carrots, celery, salt, pepper and cooked oxtails. Ensure there’s enough liquid to cover the oxtails. Turn the heat to low and allow to simmer. Cover with a lid slightly cracked. Simmer for 2.5 to 3 hours.
  • About 1 hour before serving, remove the lid. And allow the stew to continue cooking uncovered.
  • 30minutes before serving, mix 1 tbsp cornstarch and 1 tbsp water together and stir the slurry into the pot and increase the heat to medium, stirring until the gravy thickens. Salt to taste.
  • Garnish with chopped parsley and start serving!


  1. Vegetables: You could replace the carrot and celery with your preferred vegetables of choice. Root vegetables take longer to cook so replace them with the carrots in Step #3 but other vegetables might cook faster so only add them to the stew 1 hour prior to serving. 
  2. Fat: You could also use ghee, if you don’t want to use a vegetable fat or olive oil. 
  3. Sugar: The carrots release their natural sugars into the broth so if you decide to not add carrots or another sweet vegetable, consider adding a tsp sugar to the stew. 
  4. Storing: Transfer your leftovers to an airtight container and keep in the fridge up to 4 days. You can always reheat it in the microwave or stovetop. You can also freeze the stew for up to 6-8 months. It’s best to allow it to thaw overnight in the fridge.

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