Monday, 15 December 2014

Slow Cooked Oxtail

Oxtail is something I tried many years ago and wondered what the fuss was about.  The two things I did wrong when cooking it was cooking it for too long so it was almost falling off the bone but then actually taking it off the bone before serving.  Now pieces of a tail of an animal are never going to look like the most beautiful things on a plate (I don't think I've done too badly mind but I have fallen foul of the artificial lighting curse), however, when you take it off the bone, it does not look pretty at all.

But in the spirit of true nose to tail eating; it is more environmentally friendly and respectful of an animal to use the whole carcass and likewise, I've found out that not only is oxtail fantastically cheap, if you cook it right, it doesn't look bad at all and it tastes pretty darn good.

I've suggested this makes two portions but these are two small but richly, flavour packed plates.  Oxtail is largely bone so if you really want some meatiness, this may just serve one.  I cut the remaining meat off the bone and ate it for lunch at work in front of my boss as we had an informal meeting.  At the end, he stopped and said "what was that?  It smelled great!"

Slow cooked oxtail

Slow Cooked Oxtail - Serves 2


500g, just over 1lb Oxtail
1/2 onion
1 carrot
1 clove garlic
1 tsp olive oil
100ml, 3.5 fl oz, just under half cup red wine
100ml, 3.5 fl oz, just under half cup beef stock (if using a commercial stock or stock cube, use low salt)
2 sprigs rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 tsp cornflour (cornstarch)



Dry fry the oxtail in a non stick frying pan until browned.  It used to be said this would "seal" the meat for a stew but it does nothing of the sort.  In fact the browning is something called the Maillard Reaction which gives you lots of flavour compounds.

Put into a slow cooker on high.

Chop up the onion and carrot and fry in the same pan with the oil until slightly browned at the edges.  Put in the slow cooker and add in the chopped garlic, rosemary stripped off the sprigs and the bay leaf.  Deglaze the pan with the wine (i.e. pour it in the hot pan and scrape up any browned bits).   Pour into the slow cooker with the stock.

Cook on high for 1 hour and then on low for 5-6 hours.  I have a modern slow cooker which I am sure runs at a higher heat than some older ones.  Just check with yours.  You want it cooked and soft but not quite falling off the bone.

Braised oxtail

When the beef is ready, take out the oxtail using a slotted spoon and keep in a warmed dish.  Strain the sauce into a pan and reduce if necessary.  Mix the cornflour with enough water to make a paste then whisk in.  Serve the oxtail with the sauce.

Any leftovers can be put into boxes with the leftover sauce and reheated for lunch.  Ideal for making your boss jealous with your little pot of oxtail.

Cooking with Herbs


  1. A FABULOUS entry into Cooking with Herbs thanks Heidi and I am a BIG oxtail fan!

    1. I am too. It's surprisingly beautiful as well for a hunk of meat!


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