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    Oxtail Stew

    Source of Recipe

    From "A Real Southern Cook in Her Savannah Kitchen" by Dora Charles

    Recipe Introduction

    "You may not see a lot of oxtails on your local menus, but here in Savannah they outsell fried chicken, and I've heard the same thing about Atlanta. Daddy loved a good oxtail stew, and he taught me to pass up the oxtails with yellow fat: they're old, and they can take forever to get tender. Not that you shouldn't cook them a long time. I like to cook them very slowly over many hours, even overnight. Then the next day you can easily peel off any fat that's accumulated on top of the chilled stew. In our family, we never served oxtail stew without rice, and it was always converted (parboiled) rice, rinsed until the water ran clear to get rid of extra starch. Some people use cornstarch to thicken the gravy, but I don't; I stick with old-fashioned flour-thickened gravy."

    List of Ingredients

    ◦ 5 pounds oxtails (with no yellow fat), rinsed
    ◦ 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Dora's Savannah Seasoning (recipe follows)
    ◦ 2 teaspoons Accent (optional)
    ◦ 4 beef bouillon cubes
    ◦ 1 medium onion, sliced thin
    ◦ large green or red bell pepper, sliced thin
    ◦ 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
    ◦ 2 tablespoons butter, melted
    ◦ 2 or 3 cups water, plus 1 tablespoon
    ◦ 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    ◦ Hot cooked rice, for serving


    You have a choice here: You can cook the oxtails for 2 to 3 hours at 350 degrees, or you can cook them all day or overnight at 200 degrees. Set the oven according to your plan. Put the oxtails in a large bowl. Sprinkle them with the Savannah seasoning and Accent, if you're using it, and work the seasoning in evenly using your hands.

    Put the bouillon cubes in a 3-quart casserole dish with a lid and add a layer of the onion and bell pepper. Arrange the seasoned oxtails evenly on top. Drizzle the Worcestershire sauce and melted butter on top and add 3 cups water if you're cooking at 350 degrees, or 2 cups if you're cooking at 200 degrees. Cover the casserole and put it in the oven.

    If you're cooking at the higher temperature, check to see if the oxtails are tender after 2 hours (they should be falling off the bones, which may take another half hour). If you're cooking at 200 degrees, test after 8 to 10 hours. (If you have time, chill the stew once it's cooked and then remove the fat on top before reheating.)

    To make the gravy, spoon off any extra fat from the stew and transfer the oxtails and vegetables to a platter. Pour the broth from the casserole into a small saucepan and set over medium-high heat; you want it to be bubbling hot.

    Meantime, in a small bowl, mix well the flour with the remaining 1 tablespoon water to make a slurry. When the broth is bubbling, whisk in the slurry and continue whisking until the gravy is thick and the flour taste is cooked out. Serve the oxtails and vegetables over rice, with the gravy passed at the table.

    Serves 6

    ❧ Dora's Savannah Seasoning:

    "I keep this basic spicy seasoning mix in a little jar by the stovetop; I use it that often. It's good with almost everything from eggs to chicken to pork and even some vegetables, and you can save yourself a little time making it up ahead. Always taste what you're cooking once it's gone in, because you may find you need a little more of one or two elements to bring up the flavor."

    ◦ ⅓ cup Lawry's Seasoned Salt
    ◦ cup salt
    ◦ 2 scant tablespoons granulated garlic or garlic powder
    ◦ 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

    In a small bowl, mix everything together very thoroughly.
    Store the seasoning in a tightly sealed glass jar. It will keep for up to three months.

    Makes about ⅔ cup




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