Jamaican oxtail stew
Make this oxtail stew on a rainy day – the impossibly tender, fall-apart meat and thick, silky gravy make it a comforting dish when served with crusty bread for mopping up the juices
- Serves: 6 persons
- 1kg oxtail, chopped into 4-5cm chunks
- 1tbsp all-purpose seasoning
- 10 ½tbsp light brown soft sugar
- 2tbsp plain flour
- 2tbsp vegetable oil
- 2carrots, finely diced
- 2celery sticks, finely chopped
- 1onion, chopped
- 3garlic cloves, minced
- 2tbsp peeled and grated ginger
- 4spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
- 2tbsp tomato purée
- 2tbsp ground allspice
- 1red pepper, roughly chopped
- 1green pepper, roughly chopped
- 1scotch bonnet pepper
- 3thyme sprigs
- 2bay leaves
- 500ml beef stock (made using 2 stock cubes)
- 2tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 400g tin butter beans, drained and rinsed
- squeeze of lemon juice
- handful of parsley, finely chopped
Step 1Season the oxtail chunks well with salt, pepper and the all-purpose seasoning. Chill overnight.
Step 2Scatter the sugar into a large casserole pot or a heavy-based pan and set over a medium heat. Swirl the pan until the sugar has melted and turned very dark, about 5-6 mins. Carefully dd 2 tbsp of water, then stir using a silicone spatula until combined.
Step 3When ready, dust the oxtail chunks in the flour, shaking off any excess, then add to the pot in two batches, stirring to coat in the blackened sugar. Cook, stirring very occasionally, until well browned and caramelised all over, about 2-3 mins per batch. Remove from the pan and return to the bowl. Cover.
Step 4When all the oxtail has been browned, heat the vegetable oil in the pan. Once hot, fry the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, ginger and half of the spring onions for 5 mins until softened. Add the tomato purée and allspice, and cook for a minute more until thick and darker in colour.
Step 5Return the oxtail to the pot along with any resting juices, plus the peppers, scotch bonnet chilli, thyme and bay leaves. Stir in the stock, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce – the oxtail should just covered with the liquid. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, for 1 hr 30 mins, stirring occasionally.
Step 6Uncover and stir in the remaining spring onions. Cook for another 40 mins, with the lid partially ajar to release any stem – when ready, the meat will be very tender and the gravy will have thickened. Add the butter beans and cook for 10 mins more to warm through. Remove the scotch bonnet and thyme sprigs, then stir in the lemon juice and parsley. Taste for seasoning and serve.