mulberry silk products south africa

oxtail with polenta


I have made this a number of times and most recently with Oxtail from Tinderbox Farm in Mpumalanga. The difference in the depth of flavour was quite amazing. Their cows graze the farm, so eat whatever is available. They are not fed anything at all, so completely natural meat that takes about 3 years to reach slaughter weight as opposed to 18 months for fed/farmed meat.

This was a really amazing recipe which is really simple to make. You do need to keep an eye on it to make sure that there is enough liquid to slowly braise the oxtail and make it fall off the bone tender.

I am that bloke who buys great oxtail whenever I see it at a good price or where the oxtail is not too fatty and then waits for a cold weekend, or weekend away in Dullstroom to make it.

This recipe feeds about 8 people easily.

You can use the same recipe for a slow cooker version. After you have cooked all of the ingredients, instead of putting into the oven, pour into your slow cooker. Put the slow cooker on high until the edges start to bubble and then set at low for about 12 hours. Just be sure to check the liquid level every few hours.

May 2024 update – My daughter recently made this recipe and was left with a lot of left over sauce. Place left over into ziploc bags as is and freeze or blitz with a hand blender and you have the most delicious graving ready to use any time.

What you need

2 x large onions sliced
3-4 x tablespoons cooking oil
3 x medium carrots peeled and cut into large pieces
3 x sticks celery chopped
1 x 70g tin tomato paste
1 x 400g tin chopped peeled tomatoes or tomato puree
2 x kg good quality oxtail
3 x tablespoons flour
Salt and pepper to taste
2 x heaped teaspoon Thyme
500ml x beef stock
1 x 750ml bottle red wine

The process

Heat your oven to 140 celsius and drop your racks to the bottom shelf.

Season the oxtail with salt and pepper and brown in a hot cast iron pot with the oil for a few minutes. Turn the pieces until you have some nicely browned edges and remove from the pot.

Reduce the heat to medium, add some more oil and cook the onions, carrots and celery for about 5 minutes, stirring from time to time until the onions are starting to brown. Add the flour and cook for another minute or two.

Add the thyme, about a teaspoon each of salt and pepper and cook for a further 2 minutes or so.

Now add the tomato paste and cook for at least 5 minutes, stirring every now and then.

Now add the tomato puree or chopped tomatoes.

Add the cooked oxtail with any juices, stir about and then add the wine and stock. Be sure the oxtail is covered by the liquid. If it is not, add enough water to cover.

Bring to the boil, put the lid on and pop into the oven for 4-5 hours until the oxtail is beautifully soft and the sauce thick and delicious. Check every hour or so during the cooking process to check the liquid level and adjust the salt, pepper/wine if necessary.

Serve over creamy mashed potato (add a little parmesan to the potato for added decadence)

In the main picture I made it again and served it with polenta and spinach which was incredible.