What is better than a delightful hearty meal with your loved ones on a cold day or a warm evening over dinner? A simple meal with an incredibly rich flavour is the goal of each home or professional cook. One of the most versatile meats that you can prepare to wow your family and friends is oxtail cut. The irresistible aroma as it cooks warms up the entire house. This tasty recipe is the best because it is a perfect accompaniment to various foods including pap, pasta, rice, yams, bread, or even mashed potatoes. The ingredients can be sourced locally without strain and everyone at home can be involved in the preparation process. Guaranteed, this will be your favourite to-go oxtail recipe every time.
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. It has a short preparation process and allows plenty of time to engage in other things as it continues to cook over medium to low heat to tenderise.
What does oxtail taste like?
Oxtail has the taste of high-quality beef that is rich and satiating. This cut of meat contains plenty of connective tissues, so it gives a pleasant mouthfeel. The cut requires a longer simmering time to attain the best texture and flavour. The texture is best when it is stewed. Various spices and herbs, either fresh or dried, can be used to enrich the taste. Who eats oxtail? 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)
1. 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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Are Oxtails good for you?
The above stew recipe is excellent for human health. Oxtail meat is a superb source of proteins. It also provides you with Calcium that is necessary for bone development and strength. Moreover, it is an excellent source of heme-iron, a nutrient that is crucial for blood formation in the body. This gelatinous meat is also a source of gelatin that fights off inflammation and promotes the formation of good bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.
Why are oxtails so expensive?
Today, oxtails are quite pricey compared to the previous decades. The increased demand for oxtails now surpasses the supply. The price should not inhibit your intake of this dish. All you need to do is to request your local butcher to reserve some for you whenever it is possible.
Alternative ways of preparing oxtail
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Stewing using the above recipe is indisputably the best way of cooking oxtail. However, one can vary the method of preparation depending on their mood because many other oxtail recipes are available in cookbooks and online. Alternative ways of cooking it include making soup stock. This mostly occurs in Vietnam where the stock is used to add nutrients to noodles and vegetables. The braising technique in a casserole can be used as well. Regardless of the cooking method, ample time should be allowed during cooking to allow softening.
This oxtail recipe is the easiest way to prepare oxtails. It is not only simple, but it also offers you room to adjust the seasoning according to your preference and all the ingredients are easy to find in the country at affordable prices. The result is a nutrient-rich, flavour-filled and aromatic stew that can accompany different kinds of staple starchy foods. It can also be consumed as it is! Run to your local meat store today for oxtail meat. You are assured that if you follow this recipe, you will enjoy the most tantalizing and finger-licking oxtail stew in your life.