Comforting Suppers: Wintry Oxtail Glazed with Red Wine, Orange, and Rosemary

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The first time I tried oxtail, it was right after we moved to England– I found a compelling recipe in the Nigel Slater Cookbook I had just bought my husband, and we found some at a local farm shop. My experience eating them was very similar to the first time I cooked and ate beef ribs:  I was overcome with intense regret over the many years that I didn’t eat meat and missed this dish! Braised oxtail is sticky, sweet, dark and addictive. It became an instant family favorite, and I admit that we are all a little greedy about those bony little knobs of meat-candy. I’ll share with you how I made it this weekend, braising it in red wine, with orange and rosemary.

What You’ll Need:
(Serves three, but it’s very likely you’ll feel you haven’t had enough!)
an oxtail, cut into joints
butter or bacon grease or beef tallow– 2 tablespoons
2 onions
3 carrots
several cloves of garlic
2 bay leaves
a whole orange– cut in half, with one of the halves cut into wedges
a couple sprigs of rosemary
1/2 a bottle of an assertive red wine (I used Rioja)

What to Do:

1. Set the oven to 160º C or 325º F. On the stove top, heat up the fat of your choosing in a dutch oven or cast iron skillet. (Ok, so I used a cast iron skillet, but I underestimated the bulk of my oxtail, and had a hard time keeping it covered. I probably should have used a dutch oven!)
2. Brown your meat, rendering some of the fat on the oxtail pieces, and using tongs to turn it and get as much surface as you can. Remove to a plate.

3. Use all the fat and crispy bits in your pan to brown the onion and carrots, scraping with a wooden spatula. Squeeze half of the orange and keep scraping to deglaze the pan. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Add the meat back in, and add the garlic, rosemary, bay leaves, and orange wedges, and season again.

5. Pour in the wine, and bring it all to a boil over high heat.
6. Cover the pot or skillet well, and put it in the heated oven. Let it braise slowly there, turning the meat after one hour, and checking to make sure there’s still liquid in the pan. Return to the oven for another hour, for a total of two hours braising time. The liquid should reduce almost completely, leaving the meat coated in a warm, sticky glaze.

I served ours with an herbal green salad, roasted sweet potatoes, and homemade sauerkraut. I always save the remains for brewing an extra-rich beef stock.

Have you tried oxtail before?  Do you have a distinct “Where have you been all my life?!food memory to share?

(This post was shared at Family Table Tuesday, Scratch Cookin’ Tuesdays and Fat Tuesday and Thank Your Body Thursday.)

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20 Responses to Comforting Suppers: Wintry Oxtail Glazed with Red Wine, Orange, and Rosemary

  1. greatdana November 19, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

    I’m so trying this. I’m pretty sure sure I have two or three oxtails in the freezer. All I needed were your instructions. Mucho gracias.

  2. Amanda November 19, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

    That looks so warm, nourishing, and delectable!

    Recently I learned how to make meatballs for the first time. I used this recipe. They turned out melt-in-your-mouth, perfect meatballs and now I want to make this at least once a week.

    • Ariana Mullins November 21, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

      I love The Wednesday Chef, too! I wish you could bring some over for me, that sounds so good right now…

  3. Rois November 20, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

    I am going to try your recipe,ox tails unlike beaver tails are yummy. ; )

    I think the first time I ever had Mango I died and went to heaven and back.

    I also want to give you a link to my newest blog post.Thank you from the bottom of my heart for touching my life.

    • Ariana Mullins November 21, 2012 at 5:06 pm #

      I hope you do try the oxtail! I just read your blog post, and I am really touched. And I am so happy for you, that you have a new vision for helping others. I am rooting for you, all the way!

  4. ShackelMom November 21, 2012 at 1:52 am #

    Okay, bought an ox tail! I’m going to try it today! I had it cut up and we will skin it… bought oranges too! 🙂

  5. Bethany November 21, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

    I have 3 or 4 oxtails in the freezer from the all of the beef brokering we have done in order to get local grass fed beef distributed to friends and family that want it. We keep ending up with the oxtails since you can’t really divide one oxtail between 6 or 13 people! We are excited to have the Chicago division of the family coming to visit this weekend. I had been racking my brain trying to decide what to cook for a big group until you posted this. It sounds wonderful! I can’t wait to try it. I never want to try a recipe out for the first time on guests, but this looks safe enough and I suspect everyone else will want to try it as much as I do. Wish me luck!

    • Ariana Mullins November 21, 2012 at 5:08 pm #

      Oh, having 3 or 4 oxtails is so perfect, because you will definitely want more! One never seems like enough for us. So happy for you that the Chicago Shacks are going to be there this weekend, and I know you’ll all love it. Good luck!

  6. Elie November 30, 2012 at 11:24 pm #

    I’m spending a weekend alone on the Oregon coast starting tomorrow. I was looking forward to cooking something special. This is it! And I won’t have to share with NOBODY! 🙂

    • Ariana Mullins January 6, 2013 at 5:45 pm #

      Ha! You will be glad you’re all alone, Elie! 🙂

  7. Robin December 11, 2012 at 2:54 am #

    This looks so good… so comforting. Just what I’ve been craving. Thanks for the recipe!

  8. Alicia Conway January 30, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

    Gorgeously looks! I’d like to share an idea that food can be medicine as well. Here’re some facts about red wine:
    Value of red wine.
    By the way, I followed you up with GFC, it’d be great if you follow me back.

  9. Sara Selfe February 7, 2014 at 10:41 pm #

    My mother used to make ox tail in a pressure cooker. It is one of the meals that I most remember. I haven’t had any in about 50 years and seeing your post made me miss it all over again. I am going to try and find ox tail (I’m in France for three months and will have to figure out ox tail in French). I do have a question. I a currently doing the “Whole 30” – no dairy, grain, legumes, sugar, and (sadly) wine. Is there a substitute you can think of that I can use for the red wine?

  10. Nicole February 27, 2014 at 6:51 pm #

    Cooking this was both beautiful and a pleasure. I wish I would have seasoned more but I didn’t want to overpower the orange flavor. For some reason high quality oxtails like the ones shown here are hard to come by in my area and I can’t wait to try again when I can get my hands on some better meat. Thank you!


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