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Oxtail Stew

From Angela F. Williams, United Way Worldwide

Recipe Story 

I first learned about ox tails while serving on active duty at Osan AB, South Korea. Returning to the U.S., whenever I’ve seen them on the menu at southern-style restaurants, I can’t pass them up. Of course, in Chicago, we have great butchers. So, when I have the time, I’ll roll up my sleeves and start cooking them myself. They are an international treat and I appreciate different cultures’ ox tail recipes.


  • 1-2 tsp oil for skillet (use preferred oil) 
  • 1.5 lbs fresh oxtails 
  • 1 cup beef stock or bouillon 
  • 1 16oz can cubed tomatoes (drained to remove liquid) 
  • ¼ cup finely dice celery
  • ¼ cup onion 2 tbsp fresh garlic (finely chopped or minced) 
  • ¼ cup diced green bell pepper 
  • ¼ diced red bell pepper 
  • 2 large carrots (cut into chunks) 
  • 2 dried bay leaves 
  • 1-2 tbsp tomato paste or flour to thicken stew 
  • Sugar -pinch 
  • Salt - pinch 
  • Pepper - pinch 
  • Paprika – pinch 
  • Cayenne or red pepper flakes – pinch (optional) 
  • Garlic Powder (optional) 
  • Onion Powder (optional) 


*If cooking in oven, preheat to 350. *If cooking in crock pot, turn on high and plan an additional hour of cooking for this method. *If cooking on stovetop, turn stew pot to medium-low heat. 

1. Season oxtails with salt and pepper then brown in a skillet with 1-2 tsp of preferred oil. 

2. Lightly sear top, bottom, and sides of oxtails then remove from skillet to a large pot, Dutch oven, or crock pot. 

3. Turn down heat to medium and sauté celery, onion, garlic, and bell pepper. 

4. Remove once tender and add to oxtails. 


Deglaze pan with beef stock then add canned tomatoes. It is important to season this mixture before adding to oxtails. Start with salt, pepper, paprika, and sugar. Adding garlic and onion powder along with a pinch of cayenne or red pepper flakes will expand the flavor profiles and add a kick. Once mixture has the level of flavor you prefer, add carrots. Add the stew base to the oxtails along with dried bay leaves. Let cook on medium heat, fully covered for up to 2 hours. (If cooking on stove top, liquid level must be maintained to least a cup throughout the cooking time.) If necessary, add more (warm) beef stock. 

NOTE: Do not add any ingredients that will lower the temperature of the stew once it is cooking. At the two-hour timer, add the tomato paste or flour to thicken the liquid. Cook on high for an additional 15 mins uncovered on stovetop or uncovered at 375 in oven. This will remove access liquid. Do not rush the oxtails. If they are not tender, cook an additional 30 mins. It’s worth the additional wait time. Serve alongside favorite side dishes. Enjoy.