A delicious rustic stew that uses ox tail for an amazing texture and flavour. Did I mention that it uses beer?
2 lbs ox tail
2 lbs beef chuck
1 small onion
2 stalks of celery
4 garlic cloves
2 canned tomatoes (800g)
1 1/4 cups dark beer
3 sprigs of thyme
2 sprigs of rosemary
3 bay leaves
1/2 tsp cloves
2 tbsp flour
Preheat oven to 425F. In a roasting pan, mix the meats together and season with sea salt, black pepper, and olive oil. Make sure the meat is thoroughly coated. Roast for about 20 minutes or until the meat is nicely browned. You don’t need to cook it through since we’ll be stewing it for 5 hours.
While the meat is roasting, prepare the vegetables. Roughly cut the vegetables into medium sized chunks (about 1 1/2 inches) and place them into an oven safe pot. Add the chopped rosemary and thyme, bay leaves, sliced garlic, sea salt, pepper, and saute them over medium high heat until softened. Once softened sprinkle the 2 tbsp flour, and stir until the flour is cooked. This will help the stew thicken.
Once the flour is done, add 2 canned tomatoes (with the liquid) and the beer. The meat should be done about now so take it out of the oven and add everything (even the juices) into the pot. You will want the ingredients to be barely covered, so add water or stock if you need to. Set the heat to high and wait until it reaches a light boil. While you’re waiting reduce the oven temperature to 325F.
Once the stew is boiling you will want to place the pot, covered, into the oven and stew it for 5 hours. Once you’re done, you can skim off some of the fat and season to taste. A little bit of cayenne powder or chili flakes gives it a nice kick if you want to make it spicy. For something more complex, a dollop of crème fraîche on top will give it a nice tang to go with the savory stew.
While ox tail seems to be an odd ingredient, it is a great cut of meat that provides lots of flavour from it’s bones and sweet tender meat that pulls off the bone. If you like eating meat off the bones, then this is a great alternative. Though one thing to keep in mind is that ox tail can get pretty pricey. Which is why I substitute half of the meat with beef chuck. This way you have enough meat to satisfy any stew lover but have the ox tail to give it it’s uniqueness and awesome texture.
Ox tail is nothing really new to me. My mother would use it to make every time to make a specific soup. The soup is sort of a Chinese version of borscht soup, minus the beets and cabbage. Similar to the Ukrainian dish the Chinese borscht has carrots, onions, potatoes, and tomatoes. But it also has dried dates, and is simmered with some sort of meat. For me, the meat was always ox tail and that soup easily became my favourite growing up (and it still is!).
The best part, of course, was eating the meat off the bones and sucking the soup that’s soaked up in the bones. So when I came upon a stew recipe from Jamie Oliver that featured ox tail, I couldn’t resist giving it my own take on it. Check out his recipes if you have time, he even gives you tips on how to transform the stew into 3 different meals.
Personally I think the best way to eat this stew is with mashed potatoes and a large dollop of crème fraîche. The pairing is delicious; the creaminess provides a beautiful richness to the broth, while the sour tang gives it a nice cut to the savoriness of the meat stew. If you can’t find any crème fraîche you can find my recipe on how to make it at home.
I hope you give this recipe a try and if you have any comments, tips, or suggestions please leave it below or in the video. I would love to hear from you!