• There is nothing more comforting during winter than a delicious, heart-warming  braised oxtail for lunch (or for dinner). So, stoke the fire, snuggle up, sip on a glass of red and indulge in this mouth-watering oxtail dish.

    Braised oxtail

    Serves: 8-10
    Cooking Time: 5 hours


    • 3kg oxtail
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • 30ml (2 tbsp) vegetable oil
    • 200g carrots
    • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
    • 1 onion, roughly chopped
    • 2 stalks celery, chopped
    • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
    • 50ml tomato paste
    • 750ml (1 bottle) red wine
    • 300ml port
    • 2 litres beef stock
    • 2 sprigs thyme
    • 2 fresh bay leaves
    • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
    • 50ml butter, clarified
    • 200g baby carrots, peeled, blanched and refreshed
    • 150g baby corn, blanched and refreshed
    • 100g fine beans, blanched and refreshed
    • pearl onions, caramelised in rooibos, to serve (optional)
    • mashed potato, to serve



    Prepare the oxtail 24 hours in advance of serving. De-bone the oxtail in one piece or get a butcher to do it. Chop the bones into small pieces and set aside until ready to use.


    Preheat the oven to 140°C.


    Lay the oxtail flat on a work surface, skin-side down, and season well. Roll the oxtail to form a cylinder. Secure with butcher’s twine, working from one end of the oxtail to the other.


    Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Add the oxtail and the bones, turning frequently until all the oxtail meat and the bones are brown.


    Remove the oxtail and bones from the pan and pour the fat off. Return the pan to the heat and sauté the carrots, onion, celery and garlic until golden brown. Add the tomato paste and sauté for another 5 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the wine and the port.


    Transfer the vegetable mixture to a large, heavy-based pot. Add the browned bones, lay the oxtail meat on top and cover with the beef stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and skim the surface to remove any scum that floats to the top.


    Add the thyme, bay leaves and rosemary, cover with a lid and transfer to the oven. Braise slowly for 3 hours until the oxtail is tender.


    Remove the pot from the oven and carefully lift the oxtail from the stock and place on a tray.


    Strain the stock and refrigerate to solidify any fat that may rise to the surface.


    Remove the string from the oxtail when cool enough to handle. Tightly roll the oxtail in several layers of plastic wrap and refrigerate.


    Remove and discard the fat from the chilled oxtail stock. Place the stock in a heavy-based pot and simmer over medium heat until reduced by half.


    Unwrap the oxtail. Cut it into 10 even-sized medallions and place them into the reduced oxtail stock. Gently poach over low heat for 15 minutes.


    While the oxtail is poaching, heat the butter in a heavy-based pan over medium heat. Add the baby carrots and corn and sauté until lightly coloured. Add the fine beans, heat through and season.


    Serve the oxtail with the vegetables, onions and mash, and stock poured over.


    TO DRINK: Shannon Vineyards Mount Bullet 2008, fresh, earthy and ripe.