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Oxtails are slow-simmered with potatoes, carrots, leeks, turnips, and parsnips for a hearty stew just like Mom used to make. You may wish to make the broth the day before so you can chill it to remove the fat. Beef short ribs may be substituted for the oxtails, if need be.

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Total Time: 3 hours, 25 minutes


  • 3-1/2 to 4 pounds oxtails, cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups homemade beef stock, good quality canned broth or water
  • 2 cups dry white wine, such as a Vouvray
  • Large handful of fresh thyme sprigs, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 strip orange zest, 3 to 4 inches long
  • 2 large Russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 long ribs celery, trimmed and sliced diagonally into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 medium leeks, trimmed, rinsed and cut into 1/2-inch rounds (white and green parts)
  • 2 medium turnips, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
  • 4 medium parsnips, peeled and sliced diaginally into 1/2-inch pieces


Rinse the oxtail pieces and pat dry. Place the flour on a plate or a piece of waxed paper, and season it generously with salt and pepper. Roll the pieces of oxtail in the flour until they are covered. There will be some extra flour.

Melt the butter in a large heavy saucepan or stockpot (at least 9-quart size) over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until they soften and begin to turn translucent but are not brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer them to a bowl and set aside.

First making sure that the pan is completely free of any pieces of onion or garlic, add the oil and raise the heat to medium-high. When the oil is hot but not smoking, brown the oxtail in it on all sides, in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding.

Add the stock and the wine and stir, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the reserved onions and garlic, and then add the thyme, bay leaves, tomato paste, orange zest, and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Stir well, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the meat is tender, about 2 hours. If you want to make this the night before, stop here, let the oxtails cool, and refrigerate.

Add potatoes, carrots, celery, leeks, and turnips to the oxtails, stirring so they are completely submerged. Cover, and continue cooking until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Then add the parsnips, and continue cooking until they are tender, another 30 minutes. Taste to check the seasoning, and serve.

Yield: 8 servings

Recipe Source: Farmhouse Cookbook by Susan Herrmann Loomis (Workman Publishing)
Reprinted with permission.

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