Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Orange Oxtail Stew

I did something random the other day; I bought some oxtail, because I felt sorry for it. Call me weird but it looked very lonely on the supermarket shelf, like a pitiful little kid destined to get picked last for the softball team. So I thought I'd step out of my comfort zone and take it home and try to turn it into something that I would find appealing. One day I'd like to bring some offal home, but I'm not that brave yet. Anyway, I searched the Internet and recipe books for ideas to give my oxtail a bit of a makeover. I didn't find any recipes too appealing to my taste as most things looked a bit stodgy, so I decided to combine a few ideas and came up with this recipe. The resulting stew has such a fresh flavour thanks to the orange and cardamom, and the lovely tender meat made me forget how intimidating it was in its raw state (the appealing orange hue of the sauce also helped). I think the recipe would lend well to vegetables being added, as well as (or instead of) the lentils. And apparently oxtail stews taste better after a few days so it's probably best to cook it in advance, however, I did mine just a day ahead and was great. So I really can't wait to get stuck into the extra leftovers. Ugly ducklings for the win.


800g oxtail
5 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
50g butter
2 onions chopped roughly
6 cloves crushed or chopped garlic
4 cardamom pods, remove the seeds
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 cup yellow lentils (eg toor dal)
2 bay leaves
400g tinned peeled tomatoes (chopped)
5 cups water (approx)
1 orange, skin on, cut into eighths
juice and zest of one orange


Rinse and pat dry the oxtail.

Toss the oxtail in a combination of the flour, salt and first measure of pepper.

Heat the butter in a large heavy based dish (use a casserole dish if you plan to cook it in oven, otherwise you can just cook it on the stove top or even use a slow cooker, I used a heavy cast iron wok of all things)

Brown the oxtail slowly over a low heat. Remove the meat then add the onions, garlic, cardamom seeds, caraway seeds, pepper, turmeric and lentils. Stir well then return the meat along with the bay leaves, tomatoes, water and orange pieces and zest and juice.

Cover and simmer on stove top for 3 hours, or bake (covered) in oven for 3 hours at 160 Celsius.

Check the seasonings and also reduce the liquid if needed.

If you like, remove the meat from the bone. Serve on its own or with rice or mash.

Serves 4-5


  1. Linno -

    We decided to make oxtail for our annual 12/24 culinary adventure, and your recipe sounds fantastic!

    Thanks for posting and wish us luck.

    Happy holidays and good eatin' to you and yours.

    Buffalo, NY

    P.S. Here was last year's adventure; it was divine.

  2. Thanks Amy, good luck!
    I might have to try one of those Ethiopian recipes myself, they look so tasty.
    Happy holidays to you too.

  3. Go you for picking the sad kid. Never cooked with ox tail before but I'm also keen to try cooking with offal one day soon. There is something really satisfying about taking a cut of meat that other people would turn their noses at and turning into a masterpiece. I think it's magic.


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