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Try our Jamaican oxtail stew recipe, then check out our Jamaican beef patties and rum punch, and learn more about Jamaican food.

Recipe writer Nadine Brown says, "Despite Jamaica being known globally for jerk chicken and ackee and saltfish, oxtail stew is the dish I remember being made most often in my family. The Caribbean might be a place known for its sunny climes, but somehow they have the edge when it comes to deeply comforting stews. My best memories are of being sat with my family alongside a steaming pot of oxtail stew ready to be devoured, with its rich brown gravy fragrant with ginger, allspice, bay leaves and thyme, creamy butter beans and oxtail. You’ve not really experienced a good oxtail stew if you haven’t dived in with your hands, ready to slurp all the meat off the bones."


Jamaican oxtail stew recipe

Ingredients

  • 1kg oxtail, chopped into 4-5cm chunks
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose seasoning
  • 2½ tbsp light brown soft sugar
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 carrots, finely diced
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp peeled and grated ginger
  • 4 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tbsp ground allspice
  • 1 red pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 green pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 500ml beef stock (made using 2 stock cubes)
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 400g tin butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • handful of parsley, finely chopped

Method

  • STEP 1

    Season the oxtail chunks well with salt, pepper and the all-purpose seasoning. Chill overnight.

  • STEP 2

    Scatter the sugar into a large casserole pot or a heavy-based pan and set over a medium heat. Swirl the pan until the sugar has melted and turned very dark, about 5-6 mins. Carefully dd 2 tbsp of water, then stir using a silicone spatula until combined.

  • STEP 3

    When ready, dust the oxtail chunks in the flour, shaking off any excess, then add to the pot in two batches, stirring to coat in the blackened sugar. Cook, stirring very occasionally, until well browned and caramelised all over, about 2-3 mins per batch. Remove from the pan and return to the bowl. Cover.

  • STEP 4

    When all the oxtail has been browned, heat the vegetable oil in the pan. Once hot, fry the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, ginger and half of the spring onions for 5 mins until softened. Add the tomato purée and allspice, and cook for a minute more until thick and darker in colour.

  • STEP 5

    Return the oxtail to the pot along with any resting juices, plus the peppers, scotch bonnet chilli, thyme and bay leaves. Stir in the stock, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce – the oxtail should just covered with the liquid. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, for 1 hr 30 mins, stirring occasionally.

  • STEP 6

    Uncover and stir in the remaining spring onions. Cook for another 40 mins, with the lid partially ajar to release any stem – when ready, the meat will be very tender and the gravy will have thickened. Add the butter beans and cook for 10 mins more to warm through. Remove the scotch bonnet and thyme sprigs, then stir in the lemon juice and parsley. Taste for seasoning and serve.

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