Hearty Ox Tail Stew CrockPot Recipe

Day 58.

A perfect meal for a cold, winter's evening, and as chance had it---a perfect lunch for a beautiful spring day (the weather here has been a bit funky).

I got the idea for making ox tail stew from Elise's Simply Recipes site. I adore combing through her archives with a napkin in hand to catch the drool.

When we were at Costco last week, they had double-packs of ox tail. I used one package and froze the other.

This meal took two days to prepare. I didn't start the crockpot until noon, since we were out and about running errands. When the meat was still tough at dinner time, we ate leftovers and popped the entire stoneware insert into the refrigerator. The next morning, I scraped a layer of icky fat from the top of the dish, held my breath and cooked it all on low for another 10 hours.

so worth the wait.
so very worth the wait.

I just finished up the final leftovers for lunch yesterday and the flavors were even more pronounced. This is a great-tasting, hearty, flavorful stew.

The Ingredients:

--3 lbs oxtail
--2 chopped green onions
--1 cup frozen roasted corn
--5 baby potatoes, chopped in bite-sized chunks
--1 cup sliced celery
--1 cup baby carrots
--4 whole cloves of garlic
--1 large can of tomatoes and juice
--1/2 t Italian Seasoning
--1/2 t powdered ginger
--1/2 t cumin
--baby bottle of white wine (~1 cup)
--1 cup of beef broth
--a secret ingredient! 1 square of semi-sweet baking chocolate!

The Directions:

--rub a bit of olive oil into the bottom of your crockpot stoneware

--plop your ox tails in

--cover with the spices

--add tomatoes, vegetables and wine--drop in baking chocolate square

I ended up cooking this on high for 5 hours on the first day and then let it cool overnight. The next morning there was a thick layer of congealed fat on top. I wish I had taken a picture. It was really gross. I was scared.

I then cooked it on low for another 10 hours.

If you are not going to do this in two steps, I'd recommend cooking it on low for as long as you can. Probably 14-20 hours...

The Verdict.

I really enjoyed this, and while the chocolate probably didn't add too awful much, it made me feel creative and adventurous to have it in there.

My children really liked this; we chopped all the meat off in their bowl. I preferred gnawing on the bones like a hungry animal.

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Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at February 27, 2008

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What they say about this article

  1. i don't know if i have ever seen oxtail in the store. do you have to ask for it special?

  2. Hi Kay!
    I got it at Costco, and it was right out in the meat freezer. I haven't ever looked in a "normal" grocery store, and this was the first time I've bought it.
    Gee, I'm helpful today, huh...?

  3. That looks good enough for me to give up being a vegetarian!!

    I put unsweetened cocoa powder into my chili (when I was eating meat)as a "secret" ingredient. It kind of makes it like a mole sauce. Doesn't chocolate make everything taste better?

    I'm still waiting for some company to come over so I can try out your triple chocolate mess...YUM!

  4. Anonymous2/27/2008

    Ox Tail?!?! I've never had such a thing. You can bet I'll be checking my grocery store for it on my next trip. What other random animal parts do you like to throw into stews?!?! Like Robyn, I've used chocolate in chili. It gives it that Cincinatti taste. I'll have to start considering chocolate as an ingredient in more dishes.

  5. you lost me at Oxtail.

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  6. Great blog! Unfortunately, I'm one of those odd people that doesn't like their food items touching.

  7. lol, robyn!

    grandtheory, it's the actual tail bone from a steer. It's really delicious. Evidentally it used to be a cheap meat saved for stews and lean times, but had gotten popular over the years in fancier cooking. It was not expensive at costco, although I don't have my receipt any more.

    kim, it was easy! and yummy!

    chic girl, I am just now convincing my kids that the food all gets jumbled in their bellies no matter how it looks on their plates.
    it's a tough battle, I tell you.


  8. Oh not sure I'd like ox tail... I eat pretty much any other meat product, but something about it having the word tail in it.... dunno.

  9. Anonymous2/28/2008

    I loved the ox tail stew. It was flavorful and filled me up. The meat looks gross when its raw in the package, but was tender and delicous in the end. Thanks for another great one Steph!

  10. Anonymous2/28/2008

    I absolutely love ox tail soup. Thank you for a way to make it in the crockpot!

  11. I can't believe there are people out there who have never eaten ox tail stew!! I am weeping for them! They obviously never knew my grandmother.

  12. Chocolate... NO... but a pinch of ground cinnamon... ALWAYS IN STEWS!!! THAT is the "secret" ingredient!!!

  13. You crack me up about your napkin in hand to catch the drool!

    Also, thanks for showing your semi-failures and fixes too! They are fun to read and helpful!

  14. Anonymous3/12/2008

    In your picture you show a can of beef broth, but it is not listed in your list of ingredients. Is it added? Would love to try this!

  15. ack! thank you, vickie! Yes, I used one cup.


  16. Anonymous9/09/2008

    It was delicious!!!!

  17. yummo! I googled "ox tail stew" and this was the first result! Bought 1kg for AUD8 (2.2pounds weight, say USD6.50). Tasty, nutritious etc. Yeah, fair bit of fat, but hey, thats ok.

  18. I'm a crockpot late boomer. I bought one last year and then let it sit for 6 months. Used it once during the winter to prove to myself that I didn't waste my money and I've been hooked ever since. I picked up ox tails and wondered if it was possible to cook it in the crockpot. Behold your recipe! It was absolutely delicous.

  19. Anonymous7/21/2010

    Chic girl.

    When I can prise my son away from his computer I just know he will be looking for an eating buddy like you. He has his bucket of pasta in one bowl and his tablespoon of spaghetti sauce in a separate bowl. We now call the dish Spaghetti AND Bolognese. He likes everything raw except his pasta and chicken, which he eats buckets of, separately. Sound promising for a match?...........

    Where did I go wrong. Oh yes - after sitting at the table for 3 hours because I wouldn't eat my mashed swede, I decided I would not do that to my children.

    I must have done something right however. One offspring eats Thai, English, etc. But one will need a companion who understands his oddity!


    PS VERY IMPORTANT to prepare over two days, and skim off the fat when cold, before reheating slowly again.

    Very expensive in the supermarket now.

  20. Mary Lee1/13/2011

    I tried your recipe last night and my boyfriend loved it :)

    I made a few modifications that might help - I boiled the oxtails first: helps tenderize and clarify. I let the broth cool to skim the fat.

    Meanwhile I preped the veggies.

    I braised the oxtails to give them good color, transfered to the crock pot and seasoned with your spices. After, I deglazed the skillet with the white cooking wine and added the sauce to the crock pot.

    I added the veggies and used the ox broth instead of beef broth.

    I added a little corn starch in the end to thicken the sauce, and garnished with thinly sliced green onion.

    What a delicious recipe! Thank you :)

  21. If you have an Asian store in your area they usually will have oxtails. I picked one up last night and they cut it up for me. I'll be using this soon.

    They may be more expensive then they used to be but you are paid back by all that unctuous meaty flavour & richness.


  22. Anonymous3/27/2011

    Yay! I know I'm late to the party, but I'm so VERY happy to have found your blog. Was under "house arrest" for mumps all week, couldn't swallow anything, and needed recipes for anything but Jello left in my pantry. You came to my rescue with the Black Bean Soup and the Sweet Potato soup (but didn't have mangoes on hand and had to sub apples. Still yummy, not as sweet). Can't wait to try this one! Love the blog!

  23. MadisonHomeCooker6/20/2011

    Takes 8-10 hours on low- I made a few modifications using a recipe from The Silver Palate (a great stand by cookbook). The meat/tendons kind of wigged me out so I didn't serve it as a meal. It did, however, make a delicious broth so I trimmed and picked over the meat and froze the broth and the limited meat bits in an ice cube tray. Will be awesome beef flavor for soups and stews. But the amount of time relative to the edible food is not worth it for me. But it definitely works for those times when you have an oxtail lying around.

  24. Can't see why people won't eat something because it has the word "tail" in it. They probably eat rump roast. Same concept. :-)

  25. first night on Pinterest and found this wonderful blog - have a teacher friend that is trying to get recipes for her crock pot for every work day and I'll steer her over here since you've already done them all! I LOVE oxtail soup - lived in Germany for six years and it was a favorite so seeing this recipe has me ready to go shopping! thanks for sharing and getting me "drooling" too...

  26. The addition of the chocolate is genius. Ox-tails are such a great item but unfortunately too expensive in So. Calif because of our large Asian population. Went to a "cheap" local supermarket tonight and they were $5.49 a pound. New York Strip Steak was on sale for $4.99 a pound. Much more waste on the Ox-Tails.
    As a kid in Canada in the 1940s, the butcher gave them to my Mom to feed to the dog as they were not considered fit for human consumption. When I was older in the 1960s, the local Mexican supermarket used to sell them for 19 cents a pound - the whole tail. If you wanted them cut up by the joint, you'd have to ask the butcher to do that. If not, they'd cut the oxtail into 3 or 4 pieces to fit the butcher paper.
    Times have changed.
    Jim in So Calif