There are lots of versions of oxtail stew out there, but Jamaican oxtail stew is something special. It’s also something I’ve never made at home. I’ve been lucky to live near good Jamaican restaurants pretty much everywhere I have called home, so I’ve honestly never considered making it myself. Until now, that is.
Jamaican Oxtail Stew – This braised oxtail with butter beans not only have a complex note from allspice but also that familiar garlic, thyme, scotch bonnet and onion medley. Fall off the bone tender.
The list of ingredients for this recipe is long-ish, but don’t let that put you off. There are a lot of pantry staples like cooking oil, tomato paste, and spices. Most of what I had to buy was the produce, canned butter beans, and oxtail.
By the way, oxtail isn’t really from an ox. It’s a generic name for cattle tails, and most likely from an ordinary cow. I found a package that was a little over two pounds for just under $20.
Personally, I thought the price was a little high at $5.99 per pound. However, I did get two batches of stew out of it because I split the package in half and froze the extra. I also found it at my regular grocery store, so I suppose I paid for convenience too.
A 5.3-quart cast iron Dutch oven was the perfect size for this stew. It also gave the oxtail a nice sear. Speaking searing the oxtail, a pair of tongs will be your friend for this step. I used them to hold the pieces in place because they tended to roll when left alone.
Otherwise, making this stew went according to the instructions and was really simple. Most of the process was just letting the stew simmer on the stove for a few hours. Even the prep work wasn’t much. Here is how the steps broke down for time:
- 9 minutes to prep
- 2 hours 43 minutes to cook
- 2 hours 52 minutes total
Oxtail is a fatty cut, so you will want to pay attention to how much oil is left in the pot after browning. I was expecting to have to drain some excess oil, but it turns out that I was left with about three tablespoons. It’s just something to be aware of because you can end up with an oily broth if there is too much leftover.
At step four, I followed the author’s advice and initially added four cups of water. I did end up adding the additional two cups during the cooking process to keep the oxtails covered. The broth was a bit thin for my liking, but you could either use less water or thicken it with cornstarch if you prefer a thicker broth.