• TO DRINK: Kaapzicht Steytler Vision 2006, a smooth, rich red blend.

    Oxtail stew with polenta balls

    Serves: 4
    Cooking Time: 5 hrs


    • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • 60ml (¼ cup) cake flour
    • 1,2kg oxtail, trimmed of excess fat and gristle
    • 30ml (2 tbsp) olive/avocado oil
    • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • 1 red onion, chopped
    • 5ml (1 tsp) fresh thyme leaves
    • 5ml (1 tsp) fresh sage, chopped
    • 250ml (1 cup) red wine
    • 500ml (2 cups) water
    • 5ml (1 tsp) sugar
    • 125ml (½ cup) tomato purée
    • juice and zest of 1 orange
    • 375ml (1,5 cups) polenta
    • fresh basil, to garnish



    Season the flour well and use it to coat the oxtail, tossing well and shaking off the excess.


    Heat the oil in a deep ovenproof casserole pan on the stove and brown the oxtail on all sides. Remove the oxtail from the pan and set aside.


    Add the garlic, onion and herbs and brown lightly.


    Add the wine, water, sugar, tomato purée, orange juice and zest and stir until simmering.


    Return the oxtail to the pan, cover and reduce the heat. Cook over low heat for about 2 hours.


    Preheat the oven to 150°C.


    Skim the fat off the top of the stew, cover and bake in the oven for 2 hours.


    Just before the end of the 2 hours, bring 1,5 litres (6 cups) of water to the boil, season with salt and pour in the polenta in a thin stream, stirring constantly. Cook for 5 – 10 minutes until thickened and pour into a baking tray to cool. When cool enough to handle, roll into about 16 small balls.


    Remove the stew from the oven, place the polenta balls on top of it and return to the oven. Bake uncovered until the oxtail is falling off the bone and the polenta balls are lightly browned, about a further 45 minutes.


    Serve hot, garnished with the basil.

    Imka Webb

    Imka Webb is a freelance digital marketing expert and the digital editor of Food & Home Entertaining magazine.  www.imkawebb.com