go straight to the recipe

This weekend’s recipe oxtail stew…managed to get some very good oxtail from this butcher you need to order and impress on them you want fresh and not frozen – ‘Meat at the Market’ Stall 15 Adelaide Central Markets 0438 095 997

Remember when ordering there is about 60% bone weight with oxtail. Rich, fatty and succulent I think 150g meat weight is plenty for most. Some will eat more and others less.

I was also able to purchase fantastic lamb’s kidneys from the same butcher that recipe, not mine, will also follow next week. This is a butcher newly discovered as it is in part of the market I rarely go to. I am yet to put them thoroughly to the test but since losing Richard Gunner and Steve who looked after me I have had endless fights with butchers who fail to deliver. Not fresh enough bone marrow, frozen when I have stipulated I do not want frozen, no fat outrageous trim. Blah! Blah!

I will put them through their paces with my tiny Bastille Day dinner and hope and would pray if I believed in a superpower that I have finally found a good butcher. And yes you can kiss goodbye the time when oxtail was actually a cheap dish to make that required time rather than money, but then there is no such thing as cheap meat anymore. My mantra is buy quality and eat less meat.

AO 23 JUNE 2023


serves 8

4kg fresh oxtail, cut into the obvious sections

150g unsalted butter
2kg brown onion, peeled and finely chopped
20g Maldon sea salt
8g black pepper, freshly ground
80g dark brown sugar
500g medium carrots, peeled and diced small
2-4 Thai chillies, finely chopped … OPTIONAL [1]
2 bay leaves
½ a tube Mutti Organic tomato paste – 65g
1 x 750ml red wine
3 x 750g jars Olive’s Tomato Sauce or equivalent commercial chunky style tomato sauce [2]
1 x 250g jar of green olives and their liquid [3]

to serve
handful of parsley stalked and chopped

recommended accompaniments
Keep it simple there is enough flavour from the oxtail. Either polenta [cut the cheese back by half] or simple steamed potatoes or mash that has been made a la minute. Meaning not reheated.

the magical


patience is required

pre heat oven to 220°C
Line a large deep roasting dish with foil and sit a rack in it that is at least 15mm above the bottom of the baking dish. Lay out the oxtail on the rack and put it in the oven. Set a timer for 30 minutes. When the timer goes bring it out of the oven and turn all the pieces over. Return to the oven and set the timer for another 30 minutes.

When the timer goes check your oxtail. It should be very browned and dry on all sides. I removed the smaller pieces, turned the big pieces again and returned them to the oven for another 30 minutes.

Try and time this so that the browned oxtail pieces to not go cold before you put them in the sauce. The rendered fat is discarded.

for the sauce
Select a large heavy based shallow pot with a lid large enough to hold all of the oxtail. Fry the onion in the butter with the salt and pepper and sugar, adding the carrot when the onion is lightly coloured, and continue cooking until the onion is very browned. Add the chillies if you are using them and bay leaves and tomato paste, cook for a few minutes and then start adding the wine about 100ml at a time. Allow each addition to be fully incorporated before adding more wine.

When all of the wine has been added start to add the tomato about one third of a jar at a time until it has been fully incorporated. Add the juice from the olives in about three goes and then add the olives to the sauce.

pre heat oven to 160°C
Once you have added all of the ingredients to the sauce, using tongs, add the oxtail pushing it under the sauce. Cover the top with a baking paper cartouche [a disk of baking paper that completely covers the surface]. Cover with the lid and put it into the pre-heated oven. Set a timer for one hour.

When the timer goes carefully lift the cartouche and turn the oxtail pieces over. Return to the oven and set a timer for another hour. Repeat the process. Ours took four hours. The meat needs to be falling from the bone.

re-heat to serve
Put the oxtail back in the oven and set a timer for an hour. When a timer goes bring the pot from the oven and turn the oxtail, making sure the cartouche is pressed against the meat and sauce. Return to the oven for another hour. Check that the meat is sufficiently hot right through to the bone and decide if you need a little longer oven time.

[1] An excellent substitute for fresh chillies is 5g [or more of you like a lot of heat] of the Spanish Hot Smoked Paprika.
[2] Not everyone has crates of home-made sauce my only substitute, which will be slightly different in the end product is the MUTTI chopped tomatoes made from the best ever tomato the Manzanillo. I have always detested tomato paste and only recently discovered their organic tomato paste. Not expensive it is brilliant.
[3] I can’t offer advice for a substitute and think unless you have access to home preserved olives the juice is probably best omitted. We make our own olives and love the juice in everything from the oxtail to a martini.