There's just something about oxtail. I don't know if its the texture of the meat or the rich beefy flavour but I absolutely love oxtail.
One of the best ways to treat this cut is by cooking it long and slow so you get the meat as soft as possible...........fall off the bone if you will. There's hundreds of recipes out there but this is one of my best recipes. Simple, warm and spicy.
I don't use too much spice and I add some vegetables and beans to make it hearty enough to be eaten on its own. Sometimes if I want to be extra, I add some dough to make dumplings.
1 large carrot
2 sticks of celery
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 large tomatoes, finely chopped
2 tbs tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 cup broad beans or canellini beans
1 scotch bonnet
1/4 cup rosemary, finely chopped
3 fresh sprigs of thyme
1 tsp pimento (all spice)
1 tbs paprika
2 tbs mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground chili (optional)
60ml vegetable oil
For the dumpling
250 grams AP flour
100 grams unsalted butter
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 tsp salt
Pressure cooker or slow cooker
We start by sealing our meat. Place your oxtail into a bowl and lightly season it with salt and chili. Next, put half the oil into a pan and onto a high heat. Once the oil starts smoking, add the oxtail pieces in one by one and cook them until they get a crisp brown coating. Make sure to keep turning the meat as you brown it so that it browns evenly.
Once the meat has browned, put it into a bowl and set aside. Use the same pan to prepare the sauce base.
Put in your onion and garlic and cook on a medium heat until they have softened and are slightly translucent and then add in the rest of the spices (pimento, rosemary, paprika, mixed spice). Turn down the heat and let the spices cook for 5 minutes. If it starts to burn or smoke, add oil and make sure the spice mix resembles a thick paste.
Next, add the fresh tomatoes and season with salt. Mix the tomato paste with a cup of water and pour into the pan. Let this simmer for another 10 minutes.
Add the vegetables, beans and meat to the sauce and mix. Last, add the bay leaves, fresh thyme and whole scotch bonnet.
If you are using a pressure cooker, the liquid base at this point is not enough to cook the oxtail so add another 500ml of water or beef stock. Let the sauce simmer and then follow the pressure cooker instructions to cook the meat.
If you are using a slow cooker, do not add any more liquid. Cover the pan and leave the meat to cook according to the instructions.
Once the meat is ready, turn the stove to the lowest heat and prep the dumplings.
In a bowl, mix the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda together. Dice the cold butter into cubes and using your hands, rub the butter into flour to a crumbly texture. Then, add the parsley and mala to form a slightly wet dough. If the dough is too wet you can add flour. If its too dry, add some mala.
Split the dough into 4 pieces and drop them into the pan with the stew. Cover and let it simmer for 12 minutes. (the dough will rise to form dumplings and the stew will slightly thicken)
Once the dumplings have cooked, you are ready to serve.