Posted on 07 May 2012.
- Stewed Oxtail prepared by Bobbie Today
Trinidadian Stewed Oxtail – Backstory.
Trinidadian stewed Oxtail is one of those dishes that’s served daily in almost all of the eateries, mom-and-pop restaurants, exclusive restaurants on the island. Growing up, my Mom prepared this lunch dish every Saturday, something my sister and I looked forward to every week. Today, I cook Oxtail in a variety of ways: barbecue, soups, braised and of course stew- the way my Mom use to do it.
In this show, wine expert, Renee Preston Hooper paired the French Perrin Family’s 2010 Cotes du Rhone Villages red wine (50% Grenache, 50% Syrah) with the hearty and savory Trinidadian style stewed oxtail. The Rhone River valley in the Southern part of France is famous for great wine. One of the unique things about the Perrin Family is that they are committed to traditional, natural and manual farming methods to grow the grapes. Everything is done by hand and horse-drawn implements. So cool!
Another feature about this wine that is so special and unique and makes it such a great match for the oxtail stew is that where these grapes grow in the Rhone valley the soil is very special. The Rhone River used to be a lot wider and more violent than it is now. It pulled limestone and sandstone from the hills and tumbled them into round, smooth pebbles before leaving them all over the valley. This special element of the soil plus the really arid climate not only gives the grapes intense flavor but also is the perfect environment for pungent herbs such as rosemary, thyme, sage etc. The flavors of these herbs get infused into the grapes and remain in the wine, mingling perfectly with the herbs in the stew.
For pronunciation of french wine related words that will keep you looking smart in the wine shop, go to http://www.davidstuff.com/wine/pronounce.htm
Ingredients - Trinidadian Stewed Oxtail
2lbs of oxtail (ask your butcher to cut it into 1 inch pieces)
5 cups of water
2 scallions (green onions)
1/2 Scotch Bonnet pepper
3-4 bay leaves
2 sticks of cinnamon
3 pieces of clove
5 cloves of garlic
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 tablespoon chopped celery
1/4 teaspoon of allspice
1/2 tablespoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
* You’ll need about 3 tablespoons of lime or lemon juice to wash the oxtail pieces with (use vinegar as
Place the cut pieces of oxtail in a bowl and pour the lime juice over it, give it a good stir and pour in
some water. Wash each piece off, then drain. Rinse with cool water and pat dry. Now in a fairly large
pan, heat the vegetable oil on high and brown the pieces of oxtail. Try not to crowd the pan or it will
not brown properly and it will release a fair amount of liquid. I did mine in two batches.
While this was browning (takes about 15 minutes) prepare the other ingredients (wash, peel and chop)
With the pieces of oxtail all browned, you may need an extra tablespoon of vegetable oil in the pan add
the diced onion and garlic. Let that cook on medium heat for a few minutes. Then add back the pieces of
oxtail and top with the aromatics, herbs and vegetables.
Give that good stir, then add the salt, black pepper and allspice. Now top with the 5 cups of water
(enough water to cover everything) and bring to a boil. When it starts boiling, reduce to as low as you
can and have it at a gentle simmer. Cover the pot and let that simmer for about 2 hrs or until the meat
is tender. You will want to have the meat falling off the bones. Depending on the age of the oxtail it may
take a bit longer. If you have a pressure cooker, this will save a ton of cooking time.
This is one of those dishes where you must have patience to allow it to slowly cook and do it’s thing..
to get tender. Besides this method or using a pressure cooker, you can also add everything to a slow
cooker (after you’ve browned the ox tail pieces) and let it cook slowly all day while you relax or go about
your tasks. This pot was enough to serve about 4-5 people and you can accompany it with a side of rice,
peas and a fresh green salad. Bon Appétit!!