Red wine oxtail

If you find yourself in hibernation mode with a crackling fire to warm your toes and a ruby red in hand, this hearty slow-braised Red Wine Oxtail has your name on it. Oxtail is the ultimate weekend food. A time for slow cooking and lazy lunches shared with good friends and restorative conversations.

Ever since visiting the Morgenster Wine and Olive Estate in the Cape last December, I’ve been intent on making a comforting oxtail. Although it was in summer that we visited , I remember sitting outside, shaded from the heat by cascading grape vines, sipping on chilled wines and eating pillowy-soft ravioli filled with shredded oxtail.


Anyone who’s made oxtail knows, it’s hardly challenging, needing only a few ingredients but, a fair portion of patience. Oxtail is a waiting game, although the oven does all the work, slowly eliciting its mouthwatering gelatinous flavour. If you’re ravenous, as a winter belly tends to be, start the stew mid-morning to be ready for Sunday lunch. It can also be made the day before and reheated when needed. After several hours in the oven, you’ll be rewarded with a sticky red wine sauce and spoon tender oxtail, ready for the weekend table.

A rich meat such as this, needs somewhere soft to nestle like say, fluffy mashed potatoes. I rather like the idea of creamy parmesan polenta. For a rich dish, such as oxtail, I like to keep the vegetable sides light. Perhaps steamed green beans or orange and thyme poached carrots. Bread will also help – for bowl mopping. A spectacular main deserves a classy finish. Here I would recommend my spicy Cape brandy pudding. It can only but be, a gratuitously  happy weekend.

Slow braised red wine oxtail
Serves 6-8
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1.8kg oxtail, trimmed of excess fat
  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 long celery sticks, diced
  • 3 carrots peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • several stems of fresh thyme and oregano, de-stalked
  • 4 bay leaves
  • zest of half lemon
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1/2 cup water
  • bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons Morgenster lemon enhanced olive oil
  • zest and juice of half a lemon
  • pinch of Kalahari desert salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 180º C. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a deep cast iron pot or oven-proof saucepan. Season the oxtail generously on both sides with salt and black pepper. Brown the meat in batches on both sides and then set aside.
  2. Add a little more oil to pot and sauté the onions until softened. Add the garlic, celery and carrots and cook for a further 4-5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste, herbs, lemon zest, sugar and tomatoes. Pour in the wine and allow to bubble up to lift all the meaty flavour at the bottom.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes, beef stock and water. Place the oxtail pieces back into the pot along with all the resting juices. Season lightly with salt. Cover with the lid and cook in the oven for 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Check the meat after 2 hours and add a little more water if necessary.
  5. Once the sauce is reduced and thickened, check the seasoning.
  6. In a small bowl, combine the parsley, olive oil, lemon zest and salt flakes. Serve the oxtail with the herb oil, mashed potatoes or polenta and steamed green beans.
If you like slow cooked stews and hearty soups, you might like to try these Bibbyskitchen favourites:


18 Comments. Leave new

  • Dianne Hildyard
    10 June 2016 11:40 am

    Hi Di, Fantastic recipe thank you. I had the inspired idea of also adding the rind of a whole orange. Added an amazing dimension to the recipe. It has people doing a double take and wondering what the flavour is. Many thanks for your recipes.

  • Dianne Bibby
    10 June 2016 12:32 pm

    Hello Dianne. That sounds completely delicious. I’m sure the orange is also a fresh and citrusy contrast to the richness of the meat. I’m definitely going to try it next time. Thank you for stopping in. Have a great weekend!

  • It may be summer here in England, but I am still putting the heating on some days when the rain seems endless and there is no sign of the sun! This is exactly the sort of dish I crave on those days, a slow rich braise served with a pile of buttery mash! Heaven! <3 x

  • Dianne Bibby
    12 June 2016 11:32 am

    On my last trip to the UK it rained everyday. There was plenty of huddling into coffee shops and wonderfully rich stews with turnips, carrots and of course, potatoes – my husbands absolute favourite kind of food!

  • I was wondering if this could be cooked in a slow cooker? If so, how long would you recommend? I was thinking low heat for 8 hours…

  • Hi Domenica. This cut of meat is ideal for long, slow cooking. Overnight for 8 hours is perfect. I’d just reduce the liquid slightly, as one would for all slow cooker recipes.

  • Deliciously tempting. I’m making oxtail today, and as I’m test driving pressure cooker today I’ll try to incorporate your magic under pressure. Cooking time about an hour only, (plus 20 minutes releasing pressure) but time will tell if it will have that liplekker sticky gelatinous loveliness that 4 hours bring!

  • Dianne Bibby
    12 August 2018 2:02 pm

    I’m keen to know how it turns out, Errieda. My mom is a firm believer in the powers of a pressure cooker, but I’m still hedging towards the low and slow method. Either way, I’m sure you’ll still be licking your post Sunday-lunch lips.

  • Hi a great recipe I hadn’t tried the chorus flavour before. Another great version is to àdd a bit of chilli with the herbs.

  • It is bitterly cold in the Cape today and hopefully tomorrow it will be too. Cant wait to try this Recipe tomorrow and give you feedback.

  • Dianne Bibby
    8 June 2019 2:52 pm

    Hi Ntokozo. I believe it’s cold and rainy. This will be the perfect way to warm up. I hope you love it!

  • Dianne Bibby
    8 June 2019 2:59 pm

    Thank you Walt. It’s one of the most loved meat recipes on the blog. I think some chilli will definitely give it extra warmth and flavour.

  • I always find red wine in oxtail too rich. Can I leave it out?

  • Hi Gail. Not at all. Food is very accommodating. Just add a little more water and maybe some weak chicken stock. That should do it.

  • Neville Douglas
    24 January 2020 2:41 pm

    Made this, it is truly wonderful, thanks for sharing

  • Hello Neville. I’m so happy to hear you loved it. It’s my go-to recipe for hearty, winter food. Always requires a lovely crusted bread to mop the pan!

  • Christa Scholtz
    28 June 2021 10:01 am

    Good morning! I made this over the weekend, and it was delicious! I just found some instructions a bit confusing. The tomatoes are added twice, first in Step 3 and again in Step 4.
    Same with the lemon zest in Steps 3 and 6. It also doesn’t say when to add the lemon juice.

    I will definitely make this again, thank you!

  • Dianne Bibby
    5 July 2021 1:56 pm

    Hello there Christa. So glad you overlooked the tomato and lemon issue and soldiered on! Sorry about that. I have amended the tomato addition in the recipe. For the lemony dressing, add both zest and juice – step 6 Best regards Di

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.