Braising Bliss: How to Cook Oxtails on the Stovetop to Perfection
Oxtails, with their rich and flavorful meat, are a beloved ingredient in many cuisines around the world. When cooked low and slow, they become tender and succulent, making them an ideal choice for a hearty and comforting meal. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to cook oxtails on the stovetop, allowing you to savor the deliciousness of this underrated cut.
Ingredients You’ll Need:
- Cooking oil (e.g., vegetable or olive oil)
- Onion, carrot, and celery (for the mirepoix, if desired)
- Garlic cloves (optional)
- Tomato paste (optional)
- Red wine (optional)
- Beef or vegetable broth
- Herbs and spices (e.g., bay leaves, thyme, rosemary)
- Salt and pepper
1. Prepare the Oxtails
- Begin by rinsing the oxtails under cold running water to remove any bone fragments or debris. Pat them dry with paper towels.
2. Sear the Oxtails
- Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of cooking oil to coat the bottom. Once the oil is hot, sear the oxtails on all sides until they develop a deep, rich brown color. This step enhances the flavor and seals in the juices.
3. Create the Mirepoix (Optional)
- If desired, add diced onion, carrot, and celery to the pot (known as a mirepoix) to create a flavorful base. Sauté them until they become soft and fragrant.
4. Add Aromatics
- Toss in minced garlic and tomato paste, if using, and cook for a minute or two until the garlic becomes aromatic.
5. Deglaze with Wine (Optional)
- To add depth to the flavor, pour in red wine and scrape the bottom of the pot to release any flavorful bits. Allow the wine to simmer and reduce by half.
6. Add Broth and Seasonings
- Pour enough beef or vegetable broth into the pot to cover the oxtails. Add herbs and spices such as bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper for seasoning. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil.
7. Simmer and Cook
- Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot with a lid, and let the oxtails simmer for 2.5 to 3 hours. Check occasionally and add more broth if needed to keep the oxtails submerged.
8. Check for Doneness
- After simmering, the oxtails should be fork-tender, with the meat easily falling off the bone. If they’re not yet tender, continue to simmer, checking every 15-30 minutes until they reach the desired level of doneness.
9. Serve and Enjoy
- Once the oxtails are cooked to perfection, remove them from the pot. Serve them with the flavorful cooking liquid as a sauce or gravy.
- Accompany your stovetop-cooked oxtails with classic sides like mashed potatoes, rice, or crusty bread to soak up the delicious sauce.
- Garnish with fresh herbs like parsley or chives for a burst of freshness.
- Leftover oxtail stew can be even more flavorful the next day, so make extra for a delicious meal later.
Cooking oxtails on the stovetop is a labor of love that results in a mouthwatering, hearty meal. Whether you’re indulging in a traditional recipe or putting your own twist on it, this cooking method allows you to savor the full flavor and tenderness of oxtails. Enjoy the rich and satisfying experience of this classic dish!