Simple & rustic with a handful of ingredients & a cinch to make, Oxtail in Red Wine slowly cooks in the oven, filling the house with beautiful aromas as the meat becomes fall-off-the-bone tender, carrots sweeten & the sauce thickens.
There’s something so profoundly cozy & magical about winter in a snowy country. Growing up in a warm country in a city where winter equates to grey & damp, waking up to a blanket of cottonball snow still heralds a sense of wonderment. It snowed all day yesterday, at times I couldn’t see across the fields. This is a time for nesting, baking, roasting & simmering pots of soups or a good oxtail in red wine stew.
Most of us eat only the parts of the animals familiar to us – boneless, skinless breasts from chickens; sirloin steak from beef; fish fillets & such. But it was considered the norm for our forefathers to eat almost the entire animal. With availability playing a major factor in our modern day choice for meats, we’ve moved away from what the generations who went before us ate. Growing up, I remember my nana & mum both cooking liver, tripe, kidneys &… oxtail. In America, an ‘ox’ refers to an older, castrated male belonging to the cattle family. In Australia, where I was born & raised, an ox refers to a ‘bullock’. Of course the ox that is familiar to us, refers to an animal that pulls a plough & is taller & leaner than average cattle with a hump on the back of their neck. The oxtail I used, shown above, came from what we refer to as “beef cattle”. I found oxtail in Walmart.
As with most stews, braises & curries, oxtail in red wine is even better if made a day or two ahead & slowly reheated in the oven just before serving. Winter entertaining for me is all about rustic, wholesome food: long, slow cooking, nostalgic aromas filling the house & cozying up for a comfy night in; this recipe ticks all those boxes.
Oxtail in Red Wine
- 4 lbs oxtail, cut up
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 4 large carrots, peeled & chopped or 10 to 12 small carrots
- 2 cups red wine such as shiraz, cabernet or old zin
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- generous pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- pinch of sugar
- 2 tablepoons lemon juice
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- Preheat oven to 325F (160C).
- Using a sharp knife, remove & discard some of the excess fat from each piece of meat. Heat the oil on medium-high heat in a 7-quart Dutch oven or flameproof & ovenproof pot. Cook the oxtail until golden brown all over; remove from pan.
- Discard all but about 1 tablespoon of the oil. Heat the oil on medium heat. Add onion & cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Add garlic & cook for a minute or two until fragrant. Add tomato paste & cook, stirring for 1 minute.
- Add carrot, wine, broth, vinegar, rosemary, salt, pepper & sugar. Stir until well combined. Return oxtail to pot. Cover & bring to a boil. Cook in oven for 2 hours, stirring once during cooking. Remove cover & cook a further 30 minutes or until sauce is thickened & meat is falling off the bones.
- Remove from oven; stir in lemon juice & parsley.
A couple of other winter-warmers: one of my all-time faves – Rustic Country Chicken with Olives, Potatoes & Leek & Roasted Squash & Cannellini Chili.