My Mum's Oxtail Stew Recipe

Oxtail Stew. Getty
  • 4 hrs 35 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins,
  • Cook: 4 hrs 15 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4 - 6
Ratings (40)

This delicious, rich, sticky oxtail stew recipe reminds me of my childhood as its one my mum used to make and was always a lovely dish to come  home to from school for my tea. 

The bits and bobs of animals, like tails and trotters, fell out of favour but am so glad to say though that they are now back. Their new-found popularity has come about as awareness for not wasting food by throwing nutritious cuts like this away and because they are still relatively cheap.

The stew is best made a day or two in advance. Making ahead helps the flavours to develop and makes it easier to remove any excess fat - so it's healthy too.

What You'll Need

  • 4 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt and 1 pepper
  • 1 teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon English mustard powder (optional)
  • 1 whole oxtail (approx 1 kilo (1 lb) in weight) cut into 5cm (2")  chunks
  • 1 glass red wine, or small glass of dry sherry
  • 1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon tomato puree
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 leeks, cleaned and thickly sliced
  • 2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  •  1.25 litres (
  • 2 ½ pints) dark beef stock
  • 2 tablespoon flat leaf parsley, stalks and leaves, roughly chopped + leaves for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon soft butter
  • Salt and pepper

How to Make It

Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3

  • Heat the oil in a large ovenproof casserole dish. Add the salt, pepper and mustard powder to the flour and mix thoroughly. Toss the oxtail chunks a few at a time in the flour and brown, again two or three at a time, in the hot oil. Remove from the oil and keep to one side.
  • Once all oxtail pieces have been browned, add the wine or sherry to the pan and scrape the bottom of the pan furiously to remove any flour or meat juices. Keep stirring until the wine has reduced to a thick glaze on the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the onion and garlic, stir well and cook for 3 minutes to soften the onion, but not brown it. If the onion is starting to brown, lower the heat.
  • Add all the remaining ingredients, stir well, bring to a gentle boil and then cover with a lid and cook in the preheated oven for 3 hours.
  • Remove the dish from the oven, remove the lid and cover with a tea cloth and leave to cool. Remove the meat from the casserole and place in a separate bowl, cover and place in the refrigerator. Also, place the casserole in the fridge if it will fit, if not decant the vegetables and stock into a large jug or bowl which will fit. Leave overnight.
  • Next day, remove all the dishes from the fridge. There will be a layer of hard fat on the vegetables and stock, carefully remove this from the surface with a spoon. Place the cleaned stock and meat back into the casserole cover with a lid and place in a hot oven (400°F/200°C/Gas 6) for an hour.
  • Meanwhile, mix the butter with the flour and place in the freezer.
  • After the hour, remove the flour from the freezer, break into small pieces into the stew and stir until the flour has dissolved. Return the casserole uncovered to the oven and cook for a further 15 minutes. Leave to stand for 10 minutes, adjust the seasoning to your personal taste, sprinkle with the parsley leaves and serve.

Oxtail stew can take robust flavours alongside so serve with celeriac mash, or mashed potatoes with added horseradish to bolster up the flavour.

Oxtail Stew Recipe: Note

An oxtail will weigh on average 2 ¼ lb/ 1 kilo sometimes, obviously it can also be a little more.

Don't worry if there's too much stew, it keeps (and improves) for a few days and also freezes very well. I always make a large batch for this reason.

Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
Calories 697
Total Fat 33 g
Saturated Fat 10 g
Unsaturated Fat 18 g
Cholesterol 154 mg
Sodium 1,080 mg
Carbohydrates 36 g
Dietary Fiber 5 g
Protein 55 g
(The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)