I have such fond memories of oxtail stew. When I was a kid, my mum owned an orange-colored slow cooker, I remember it having some kind of pattern on the side. Perhaps looking like this image I found online.
I’m sure she made other dishes in her slow cooker, but the only one I recall clearly is oxtail stew. It wasn’t a usual part of her repertoire, so I may be remembering it because it was something special that we had once in a while when I was little.
Oxtail got a lot more expensive when I was older, and she stopped cooking oxtail stew.
When I moved to California, I never thought about it until at lunch at an Indonesian restaurant in the South Bay. One of our friends wanted to order the oxtail soup, known as Sop Buntut, apparently a popular dish in Indonesia. Here’s a recipe if you’d like to try it. And while I adored the dish, it made me crave oxtail stew again.
Luckily oxtail is quite easy to find here. Many of the Asian supermarkets carry oxtail. But perhaps more importantly, so does Costco. I like buying meat from Costco as the price is good and so is the quality. The oxtail comes in a big pack but luckily it’s a two-pack. Each pack has about 4 big pieces and 4-5 small pieces. Plenty for a family of four (and visiting grandparents). I only make oxtail stew when we have company, because sadly, the Husband DOES NOT EAT OXTAIL. So I have to add in a few pieces of regular cubes of beef for stewing for him. In my opinion, he is the poorer for it. Oxtail tastes pretty much the same as beef, but it is richer and the meat tends to be more tender. Oxtail has all this gelatin and fat, and not to mention the marrow within the bone. All this adds so much flavour to the stew itself (ok so the Husband benefits from that part) and the meat just falls off the bone when it’s braised properly.
- 3 lbs oxtails
- 3-4 carrots
- 3-4 celery stalks
- 3-4 small potatoes
- 1 onion or large shallot
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 half-inch thick slices of fresh ginger
- 6 cloves garlic
- 3 star anise
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar (I used brown sugar)
- 2 teaspoons of five-spice powder
- 1 1/2 cups of beef stock (I use Better than Bouillon)
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- Salt and pepper to taste
Clean the oxtails and pat them dry. Season with salt and pepper, dredge in flour. Heat oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat and brown on all sides.
Add the oxtail to the slow cooker.
Add the onion/shallot, garlic, cinnamon, star anise to the skillet to brown. Then pour in the beef stock and scrape up all the stuff stuck on the skillet, and pour that all into the slow cooker.
Add some tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, some dried herbs, five-spice powder, a few cloves of garlic, soy sauce, some sugar to taste. I put the slow cooker on low and cook for about 6 hours. About 2/3 of the way through, add in some cut-up carrots, celery, potatoes.
Serve with basmati raisin rice.
Here are some other recipes: