By Chris De La Rosa
PRIDE Cuisine Specialist
After posting a pic of this Guinness braised oxtail on the Facebook fan page a while back, I’ve been overwhelmed with requests for the recipe. Just when you thought I forgot or ignoring those requests, here it is. Absolutely one of the best oxtail recipes I’ve shared to date and though it’s not something you think when you think about Caribbean cuisine, with our love for both Guinness and oxtails… yea, I assure you this will be a hit and fits well with our culinary culture.
It does take some time to cook, but if you have a slow cooker you can create the base on the stove and let the slow cooker do the rest. If using a slow cooker, you may find that oil may accumulate at the top – spoon off. And those of you who own a pressure cooker.. do your thing. It will cut back on the cooking time.
2 lbs oxtail (cut/trimmed of excess fat)
1 can tomato paste (156 ml / 5.5oz)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 large onion
1 1/2 cups diced celery
2 large carrots
2 cans Guinness (see note below)
1 cup water
4 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 habanero pepper (any hot pepper you like – optional)
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
Notes. The hot pepper is optional, but I love the heat and additional flavor. I used Guinness draft but I know we get the extra stout in the Caribbean, which is a bit stronger… rest assured that the alcohol will burn off so you don’t have to worry about that. If you want to start off with a good flavor base, replace the vegetable oil with coconut oil.
Wash the pieces of oxtail in some lime or lemon juice and cool water. Drain and pat dry with paper towels. Heat the oil in a deep, heavy pan on med/high heat and start browning the pieces of oxtail. Try not to crowd the pan (BTW if you want you can use 3 lbs of oxtail to feed more people if you wish – simply adjust the salt) or it will release a ton of moisture and you’ll notice it will start to boil and not brown. It should take about 10-15 minutes, remember to keep turning the pieces of oxtail.
Remove the oxtail pieces and set aside for a bit. Turn the heat down to low and add the onion, celery, black pepper, oregano and thyme (leave on the stem if you wish as you can remove it later on). Allow this to cook on a very low heat for about 3-5 minutes.
Now add the tomato paste and give it a good stir. We’re trying to release the natural sugars in the tomato and create a rich base. You’ll notice that it will go darker and there will be a lovely scent in your kitchen. Cook for about 2-3 minutes – keep stirring.
Return the pieces of oxtail to the pot as well as the carrots (cut the carrots in huge chunks), bay leaves and salt. Give that a good stir, turn up the heat to high and add the 2 cans of Guinness. Stir well and bring to a boil with the lid covered. When it comes to a boil, lower the heat to a rolling boil (low) and let cook for about 20 minutes. This is when you’ll add the whole habanero pepper to the pot. Remember to keep it whole for flavor and not the heat. Burst open near the end if you want the excitement of the heat.
After 20 minutes it’s time to add the water and bring it back up to a boil (this would be when I would add everything to a slow cooker or pressure cooker if that’s your plan). When it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and allow to cook for about 3 hours or until the meat starts falling off the bones. Continue stirring every 15 minutes or so and if you notice you’re running low on liquid.. add a bit more water. After 3 hours it should be tender… take out the sprigs from thyme, the hot pepper (if you don’t want the heat) and turn up the heat with the pot uncovered to thicken up the rich gravy.
If you want to add a bit more Caribbean influence you can always add a few pimento berries to the pot and a 1/2 teaspoon of green seasoning paste. This is great on rice, mashed potato, roasted breadfruit, ground provisions… even roti or bread. I did a cassava mash, which I’ll share with you in the next couple days. Here’s the video I did to help you follow along the cooking process:
This recipe is courtesy of Gourmand Award winning cookbook author and founder of CaribbeanPot.com, Chris De La Rosa. With over 450 printable recipes with step by step cooking instructions and demo videos, PLUS over 1 million social/fan connections globally every month, CaribbeanPot.com is the world’s #1 resource of Caribbean Culinary Culture. Connect with Chis on Instagram: www.instagram.com/caribbeanpot/.