The traditional French oxtail stew involves slow-cooking the meat with red wine and vegetables, then removing the meat and pureeing the veggies and the sauce in a food-mill or food processor to make a thick velvety sauce. After making the sauce, add the meat back, reheat and then add in more vegetables. My shortcut recipe, if I may say, is just as tasty.

What you need:

How to make:

  • Dump the flour in a clean plastic bag, then mix in some salt and pepper.
  • Pat dry the oxtails with paper towels, then toss them into the bag of flour and shake vigorously until each piece is well coated.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium to medium high heat in a 6-quart Dutch oven or casserole with a tight-fitting lid.
  • Working in batches (don’t crowd the pan) – sear the oxtails on all sides in a hot pan until the colour is golden brown. Set aside for cooling.
  • Pour off the fat, turn heat to medium and add in the whole garlic, the vegetable cocktail, red wine, the bay leaf and the thyme bunch. Bring to simmer.
  • Return the seared oxtail into the Dutch oven. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for about 3 hours, or until meat is fork tender.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F one hour before the meat is done.
  • Toss onions, celery and root vegetables in olive oil in a roasting pan. Sprinkle well with salt and pepper. Roast vegetables for 45 min – 1 hour, or until lightly browned and cooked through.
  • Cook green vegetables in boiling water for 15 minutes until it is just tender but still crisp. Then run them under cold running water and drain.
  • When the meat is done, remove the bay leaf and the thyme bunch, then toss all the vegetables into the stew and heat to simmer through.
  • Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with crusty French bread. Heaven!

You can cook the stew in a Thermos cooking pot if you have one, but the cooking time will be longer. Just transfer the sauce from the pan after step 5 into a Thermos inner cooking pot, add the seared oxtail, bring it to a roaring boil, then place the inner put into outer thermos, cover and leave it to sit for at least 6 hours.

Instead of garnishing the stew with just parsley, try topping with gremolata, which is a finely chopped mixture of the yellow-only peel of 1 lemon, 1/4 cup parsley and 3 garlic cloves. Although this has Italian origins and itsn’t really French, I like how the zing of the mixture cuts into the rich heavy flavors of the stew.

Recipe provided by