Skip to main content

How to Make a Jamaican-Style Oxtail Stew

Janis loves to occasionally post original recipes, influenced by the creative cooking skills inherited from her mother and aunts.

A bowl of steaming hot Jamaican-style oxtail stew served over fluffy white rice is a flavorful taste of the Caribbean.

A bowl of steaming hot Jamaican-style oxtail stew served over fluffy white rice is a flavorful taste of the Caribbean.

Oxtail Stew: A Favorite Jamaican Tradition

Who doesn't savor the rich and spicy style of Jamaican cooking? It's a favorite of many Americans of all cultures. I grew up in a Jamaican-American household with a mixture of authentic Jamaican cuisine and typical American-style dishes.

I was born and raised in Buffalo, New York, to Jamaican parents who immigrated to the United States in the 1950s and were active members of the "Caribbean Club." So I refer to myself as a "Jahmerican." I was exposed to the many cultural traditions of a Caribbean family, including the amazing flavors of the cuisine.

My mother was known in Buffalo as the premiere beef patty lady. She also made a mean curry chicken and the most perfect pot of rice and peas.

I learned a few things from her about Jamaican-style cooking and offer you one of my favorites: "Jahmerican-style" oxtail stew. To make it right, like most traditional Caribbean dishes, you will need a lot of time. So I suggest trying this on a lazy Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Enjoy!

A bowl of seasoned oxtails sits beside my recipe I've been sharing with friends since 2008.

A bowl of seasoned oxtails sits beside my recipe I've been sharing with friends since 2008.

Ingredients

  • 2 packages (7 to 8 pieces per package) oxtails, lean, least fatty
  • 1 (15-ounce) can Hanover Butter Beans
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 medium carrots, chopped
  • 6 to 8 whole Jamaican allspice berries, or 1 tsp of powder
  • 6 to 8 whole peppercorns
  • Dash each cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1 tsp each salt, pepper, garlic, thyme, more or less to taste
  • 1/4 cup cooking sherry
  • 2 Tbsp McCormick Beef Stew Seasoning
  • Flour
  • Canola oil

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

30 min

4 hours

4 hours 30 min

Approximately 5 servings of 3 oxtails

Instructions

  1. Wash oxtails thoroughly with water. Season with salt, black pepper, thyme, garlic powder, and a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg. Cover pieces lightly with flour. Using a Dutch oven or large pot, spray with cooking spray and cover bottom with canola oil (about a 1/4 inch). Heat oil, add oxtails and brown on all sides with high heat, turning each individually, while keeping a kettle or pot of boiling water to use during the remainder of cooking.
  2. After the meat has browned, add hot water and fill to cover oxtails; do not fill the entire pot with water. Cover and simmer on medium-low heat for the first hour.
  3. Add chopped onions, whole Jamaica allspice, and whole peppercorns. Add more water to cover meat; cover and simmer on medium-low heat for the second hour.
  4. Add chopped carrots. Add more water as needed. Cover and simmer on low heat for the third hour.
  5. Add butter beans, cover, and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add tomato sauce. Add the mixture of beef stew seasoning and 3 tablespoons of flour with 3/4 cup of water. Stir in for your desired consistency for stew, adding more or less flour and water. Add sherry. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. When ready, the meat should be very tender, slightly off the bone. Serve with white rice. Use this recipe as a guide only; season with salt and pepper to your own taste. Monitor heat variations and cooking time durations depending on size and quantity of oxtails.

Serving Suggestion

Oxtail stew with carrots, onions, and butter beans is best served over white rice.

Oxtail stew with carrots, onions, and butter beans is best served over white rice.

Recipe Adjustments

As stated above, this recipe serves as a guide. Try it out a few times to achieve the taste and consistency that meet your needs. As you tweak your own version of oxtail stew, consider the following additions:

  • For a spicier, hotter flavor, add Scotch Bonnet fresh peppers or hot pepper sauce.
  • Add scallion and crushed garlic clove for more flavor.
  • Check oxtails for tenderness during the last hour to adjust time needed for further cooking.
  • If you can't find allspice berries, substitute ground allspice.
  • Add flour dumplings for a heartier meal.

How Does This Recipe Rate?

My cap and flag are symbols of my Jamaican-American heritage.

My cap and flag are symbols of my Jamaican-American heritage.

Questions & Answers

Question: What is the best fish to make the brown fish stew?

Answer: Although that is not my specialty, I suggest using haddock or snapper. These are firm choices of fish that will hold up nicely in a stew. Thanks for reading. I hope you find a good recipe.

© 2012 Janis Leslie Evans