A Recipe for Jamaican Oxtail Stew
Recommended Reading: Oxtails On My Mind, one of Chef Jomo’s early culinary adventures
In the Caribbean, oxtail is quite expensive and usually reserved for Sunday dinner. It’s a tradition to attend church service in the morning and then spend the afternoon preparing Sunday dinner. In anticipation, it’s common practice to season the meat and soak the lima beans overnight. Most Caribbean kitchens have a pressure cooker, and it’s hard to find a housewife who isn’t adept in its use. The sound of a pressure cooker’s “chicka, chicka chicking” is a sure sign there’s a maestro in the kitchen: dinner will be well-orchestrated, fragrant and delicious. The good news is, oxtail can be just as delicious without a pressure cooker; this recipe will show you how. I recommend that you reserve this recipe for a lazy Sunday afternoon; it’s the perfect excuse to spend time in the kitchen.
Jomo’s Jamaican Oxtail Stew
1 tsp. canola oil
2 lb. oxtails cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tbsp. Jamaican fish & meat sauce or Worcestershire sauce
3 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. canola oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ yellow onion, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
1 tbsp. thyme leaves
6 whole allspice berries
1 tbsp. tomato paste
3 cups water
¼ cup large lima beans (soaked overnight)
Season oxtails with kosher salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and Jamaican fish & meat sauce.
Heat oil in an 8-qt. Dutch oven over medium heat.
Add seasoned oxtail to pot and cook each side until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic, onions, carrot, thyme and allspice to oxtails, stir the vegetables around and then leave to cook for 5 minutes until soft.
Spread tomato paste on top of the oxtails, then turn them over and allow to cook for another 5 minutes. Take your time to sear the meat and cook the vegetables: this process takes about twenty minutes on medium heat.
Reduce heat to low; add the water and cover the Dutch oven with a tight lid. Look for a slow simmer; the oxtails should never be allowed to boil. After the first 1½ hours, remove the lid and skim as much of the fat from the top as possible, then add the lima beans.