Oxtail Braised in Red Wine

05 Jun

(serves 4)
Oxtail is loaded with gelatinous cartilage and tendon, making it the ideal cut of beef to interact with the tannin in red wine. It’s a pairing made in heaven. When braised sufficiently, the meat neutralizes the astringent bitterness of the wine, the wine at the same time tenderizes and flavours the meat. Add some common vegetables into the mix and what you get is the tenderest, tastiest morsels of beef you have ever eaten.
  1. Oxtail (1kg)
  2. Large Carrots (2)
  3. Onions (2)
  4. Red Shallots (12)
  5. Garlic (1 bulb = 12 cloves) 
  6. Brown Mushrooms (150g)
  7. Red Wine(1-1/4 cups)
  8. Cloves (6)
  9. Bay Leaves (5)
  10. Oxo Beef Cubes (2)
  11. Campbell’s Oxtail Soup (1 can)
  12. Woustershire Sauce
  13. Mustard 


  1. If there is connective tissue (white stuff) left on the outside of your oxtail, cut some slits parallel to the bone in these areas to expose the meat beneath. Place the oxtail in a deep pot which has 2 times as much internal volume as the meat. Top off the pot with boiling water until the meat is just covered, add 1-1/4 cups of red wine and bring to a boil. Use a fuller wine, i.e. preferably not Pinot Noir / Burgundy.
  2. Add the can of oxtail soup, 6 bay leaves, 6 cloves, 2 Oxo cubes and 2T woustershire sauce. Keep on a low simmer for about 3 hours. You don’t have to have the fire on the entire time if you don’t want to. I usually just simmer for 15 minutes and leave the pot covered for 45 minutes, three times.
  3. Slice your carrots into thick discs, each onion into 8 wedges, and each mushroom into 4 (or 2 if they are small). Peel the garlic and shallots but leave them whole.
  4. Fish out the oxtail into a deep casserole with a quarter of the liquid. Discard the bay leaves and cloves. Throw all the vegetables into the remaining oxtail soup in the pot and keep on a low simmer for 1 hour.
  5. In the meanwhile, microwave the meat on high, covered for 3×3 = 9 minutes. Before you start and every 3 minutes thereafter, roll the oxtail around to keep them moist.
  6. After the oxtail pieces have cooled, strip the meat from the bone. It should come off easily without any cutting. If not, send it back to the microwave. Keep the meat morsels drenched in the drippings to prevent them from drying out. With 10 minutes to go on the vegetable simmer, return the meat (and drippings) to the pot.
  7. For taste, add 1T sugar, 1t mustard and a generous sprinkle of black pepper. Finally add salt incrementally until the sweet taste from the sugar is masked. This varies with each person’s tastes so I won’t suggest an exact amount. 


  • I bet you’re thinking…hmmm if I want to complicate things and put the veggies in before I take out the meat, I can save quite some time. Yes that’s true. 
  • The microwaving helps melt the remaining fat and connective tissue. If you don’t have a microwave, then you’ll have to roast the oxtail in the oven – before putting them to boil in the pot. This is the traditional way of doing it but I prefer the microwave method as it is more convenient.
  • This is not oxtail in a red wine reduction, but it is similar. If you want to cook a wine reduction version, follow the above recipe but…
    • skip the can of soup
    • skip the onions
    • skip the mustard 
    • reduce the Oxo cubes to 1
    • at the end, fish out the veggies (to be served on the side) and reduce the liquid to concentrate it.
  • Other cuts of meat suitable for this recipe are beef ribs, brisket and cheek.
  • If you like love oxtail but not the taste of wine, try my Scottish Oxtail Stew recipe instead. 
1 Comment

Posted by on June 5, 2012 in French, Main Courses, Recipe, Red Meat


Tags: , , ,

One response to “Oxtail Braised in Red Wine

  1. Gina

    April 28, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    Sounds interesting. Like the microwave idea and explanation.


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