Any time you ask my dad about food he always brings up oxtail. I'm fairly sure it would be his dessert island dish. When he tried out this recipe, he told me it was "bloody great!" so I think it got his seal of approval! If you haven't cooked oxtail before the aim is to cook them until the meat just falls off the bone. I serve mine sitting proudly on top of some creamy colcannon mash.


  • 2–3 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tblsp rapeseed oil
  • 1.8 kg (4lb) oxtail
  • 4 red onions, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 carrots, peeled and roughly diced
  • 2 celery stalks, trimmed and roughly diced
  • 1 tblsp tomato purée
  • 1 tblsp english mustard
  • 2 tblsp worcestershire sauce
  • 500 ml (18fl oz) red wine
  • 400 ml (14fl oz) beef stock
  • 4 tblsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • sea salt and ground black pepper
  • mashed potato, cooked lentils or steamed veg, to serve


  • In a bowl, mix the flour with a generous grind of black pepper. Place a large, flameproof casserole pot over a high heat and add the oil.
  • Pat the oxtail dry with a little kitchen paper. Roll the pieces in the seasoned flour and add to the pot one by one. Don’t overcrowd the pan, or you won’t get a good colour on the meat – do it in two batches if necessary. Brown the oxtail on all sides, turning with tongs, until the meat has a nice colour. Remove from the pan and set aside on a plate.
  • Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F/Gas 3). Add an extra drop of oil to the pot, reduce the heat and add the onion, carrot and celery. Fry for 4–6 minutes until just tender. Stir through the tomato purée, mustard powder and Worcestershire sauce until evenly combined.
  • Pour over the red wine, beef stock and balsamic vinegar and pop in the rosemary and thyme sprigs. Season with sea salt. Cover with a lid and place in the oven to cook slowly for 3½ hours until the meat is just about falling away from the bone.
  • Serve the braised oxtail and its sauce over mash or lentils, or with some steamed veggies.

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