Simple Oxtail Ragu

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One of my favourite ways to enjoy oxtail is by making this very hearty ragu. It requires just a handful of ingredients and the results are simply amazing.

Just as the name suggests oxtail is a cut of meat from the tail of cattle. By nature, oxtail is a tough cut of meat which is gelatin rich due to a large amount of collagen in the bone, thus it needs to be cooked low and slow for best results.

Growing up, I mostly had oxtail in form of soup that my mother used to make. The soup is very rich and gelatinous and oh so glorious when some chilies are added to it.

In my home, I generally make oxtail as a ragu that I mostly serve with pasta or some soft layered chapatis. For this recipe, I used my pressure cooker, which definitely cut down on the cooking time.

For this oxtail, I chose to braise it. This involves first searing seasoned oxtail in some little oil. Searing the meat, caramelises the natural sugar in the meat and browns the proteins forming a brown crust that amplifies the savoury taste. The seared meat is then simmered low and slow in a flavoured stock. This can be done in a pressure cooker, on the stove top or in the oven. The stove top and oven the cooking time will take at least three hours. If you have a charcoal jiko, that also works well for long cook times.

For my braises, I use chicken stock which I make by dissolving a chicken stock cube in hot water. If you have homemade stock, that’s even better.

Once the meat is done, the next part is shredding the meat. This involves removing the tender flesh from the bones. The residual bones can be used to make stock.

The shredded meat is added back to the sauce and simmered down. Then it can be served with your desired accompaniment.

Simple Oxtail Ragu

A hearty and delicious meaty ragu that will leave you asking for more. Perfect with pasta, creamy mashed potato or chapati.
Course: Main Course
Keyword: oxtail


  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 kg oxtail
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 medium red onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 head garlic crushed
  • 1 inch thick ginger crushed
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce optional
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 rosemary twigs
  • 3 thyme twigs
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • Fresh parsley roughly chopped
  • Grated parmesan cheese optional

To thicken the sauce (Corn starch slurry)

  • 1 tbsp cold water
  • 1 tbsp corn start

(Beurre Maine)

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter softened
  • 1 tbsp all purpose flour


For Pressure Cooker

  • Put sauté function on your pressure cooker and add about two tablespoons of oil
  • Season the oxtail with salt and black pepper on all sides.
  • In the hot oil, sear the oxtail in batches. Brown all sides of the oxtail and set aside.
  • Once all pieces are seared, add onions and cook until translucent.
  • Add garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  • Add tomato paste and cook for about 2 minutes.
  • Add worcestershire sauce if using. Then add about a half cup of chicken stock to deglaze the pan. Use a wooden spoon to scrape all the browned bits. For a pressure cookers, its important all bits are scrapped off to avoid a burn spot.
  • Once deglazed, add back the seared oxtail pieces, the rest of the chicken stock , bay leaves, rosemary and time.
  • Close the lid of the pressure cooker, ensure the knob is on the sealing mark. Put the pressure cook function and set a timer for 45 to 50 minutes.
  • Once the timer goes off, allow the pressure cooker to release pressure naturally for 15 minutes.
  • After the 15 minutes, release the residual pressure manually and once the valve drops, you can safely open the pressure cooker.
  • Remove the oxtail pieces, remove the herbs and discard. For the oxtail pieces, shred the meat to add back to the sauce.
  • With the shredded meat back in the sauce, put back the saute function and thickened the sauce if needed.
  • If using a corn starch slurry, in a small bowl mix corn starch and colder and stir it into the sauce. The slurry thickens the sauce and makes it look glossy.
  • If using the beurre maine, knead the softened butter with the flour, then add it to the sauce. Stir to cook.
  • Turn off the pressure cooker and add chopped fresh parsley and grated parmesan cheese if using.

If cooking on the stove top

  • Follow the searing procedure but now in a dutch oven or heavy sufuria. Once deglazed, cook the oxtail, while covered on low heat for 3 to 4 hours or until tender
  • Once cooked, shred the meat and thicken the sauce if need be.

If using the oven

  • Follow the searing procedure but now in a dutch oven on the stove top then transfer the dutch oven in a pre heated oven. , Cook while covered at about 165 degrees C for about 3 hours or until tender.
  • Once cooked, shred the meat and thicken the sauce if need be.



For this recipe, you can also use red wine to deglaze.
Work with about a half cup of a dry red wine for this.


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