Braised oxtail with basil dumplings

Braised oxtail with basil dumplings

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(39 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 3 hrs, 30 mins


Serves 6
Slow-cooked oxtail is soft, melting meat and teamed with this rich red wine sauce it's perfect for parties

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Easily halved

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal812
  • fat41g
  • saturates17g
  • carbs50g
  • sugars8g
  • fibre4g
  • protein53g
  • salt2.08g
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  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 oxtail, jointed and cut into pieces
  • 4 tbsp sunflower oil, for frying
    Sunflower oil

    Sunflower oil

    A variety of oils can be used for baking. Sunflower is the one we use most often at Good Food as…

  • 2 onion, chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 3 carrot, cut into small chunks



    The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

  • 2 celery sticks, cut into small chunks



    A collection of long, thick, juicy stalks around a central, tender heart, celery ranges in…

  • 2 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • bay leaves and thyme sprigs, tied together
  • 1 bottle full-bodied red wine

For the dumplings

  • 300g self-raising flour
  • bunch basil leaves, removed



    Most closely associated with Mediterranean cooking but also very prevalent in Asian food, the…

  • 75g butter



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 3 egg white
  • olive oil, for drizzling
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…


  1. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Season the flour with salt and pepper, then toss the oxtail in it until evenly coated. Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole. Working in batches, brown the meat really well on all sides. Remove from the pan, then add the veg and garlic and fry for 3-4 mins until starting to colour. Stir in the tomato purée and herbs. Tip the meat back into the pan, pour over the wine, then crumble in the stock cube. Season, cover the pan and braise in the oven for 3 hrs until the meat is meltingly tender. Can be cooked up to 2 days ahead. If you make it ahead, chill in the fridge and lift any fat off the top before reheating.

  2. To make the dumplings, tip the flour and basil (reserving a few leaves for a garnish) into a food processor with a generous pinch of salt, then blitz until the basil is finely chopped. Add the butter and blitz until it’s the texture of breadcrumbs, then gradually add the egg whites until everything comes together. On a floured surface, roll the dumplings into small, walnut-size balls, then cover with a tea towel until ready to cook.

  3. To serve, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Simmer dumplings for 15 mins, then remove with a slotted spoon. While the dumplings are cooking, gently reheat the meat in the sauce. Serve a few chunks of meat in a soup bowl with a few dumplings, drizzled with olive oil and scattered with a few basil leaves.

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Comments (56)

cfmarron's picture

I've made this twice before and it has been delicious both times. It's also set in the the oven (on timer) for dinner of the best things about the turn in the seasons is getting dishes like this back on the menu!

janegough's picture

What a fantastic recipe. Left out the dumplings and put the whole lot in my slow cooker for about 6 hours on high. It was sensational and can't wait to cook it again. Served with mash and savoy cabbage. yum!

ambertuesday's picture

gosh, this was so yummy! I am afraid that I chickened out of making the dumplings, I can't conceive that you can make dumplings without suet!!! Maybe I will have a go at those next time. I will most definitely be making this dish again, I loved it. My husband did balk at the wine I used but I think that it is worth using good stuff!!! Cooked it exactly as the recipe and could not believe how nice it was, such a rich sauce.

daisydoo40's picture

Stew delicious and will definately make this again, however dumplings were hard in the middle, I think I overcooked them but have never been successful with dumplings anyway.

moira-pat's picture

Going to try the dumplings tonight with my 'one pot' sausage stew cooked in slow cooker.
Thanks BARBARA - I planned to try the oxtail also in my slow cooker, good to know someone else does.
I do all my stews, soups and casseroles in it so they never burn or dry out and are always scrumptious!

michellepickens's picture

I can't wait for Autumn and Winter to try this recipe out on family and friends! Even though Italy is a haven for good recipes and fantastic ingredients and obviously very fussy eaters, during the winter months it always gives me great pleasure to entertain and show that we Brits are not all about fish and chips! Once cooked will leave my ratings and comments.

teachuk1's picture

Well what a lovely meal this was. I cooked it in my slow cooker overnight and then a little more and it was superb. The meat just fell off the bone and was delicious. The dumplings worked really well with the meat and were a success with all.
This was a really hearty, tasty dish full of deep flavours and an absolute winner with everyone.
I bought my oxtail from my butcher and found it was much better value than buying in the supermarket. A large oxtail from him cost me £7 and in the supermarket for £3.50 you only got 4 very small pieces.

teachuk1's picture

My butcher is getting me some oxtails in on Wednesday so I am going to make this for the weekend. I am going to follow the ingredients but am going to cook it in my slow cooker as i think this will soften the meat better. Hopefully the results will be the same.

emmjay's picture

Finally got around to making this and it received the thumbs up from all of us. After 3 hours cooking, the meat was still a little tough, so I left it in the oven for a little longer, and, to be honest, I actually forgot about it! So it ended up cooking for 4 1/2 hours, by which time the meat was so tender and the sauce was quite thick as it had reduced. I didn't make the dumplings as we're watching our carb intake, so served it with sweet potato and pumpkin mash (full of carbs, yes, but at least they're sort of "good" carbs!) I'll definitely make this again.

emmjay's picture

NaomiA - Thanks for your reply and tips. Just last week, I came across this recipe in the Australian edition of BBC Good Food magazine, and the recipe does specify 750mls of wine. So looking forward to trying it. Thanks again.

naomia's picture

Having never cooked oxtail before, I was delighted to find this recipe and can confirm it works a treat! Viking, yes, 750ml of good red wine. It is a lot, but over the three hours it turns into a gorgeous gloopy sauce.

Having made this a couple of times now, if you want to simplify the recipe I can confirm that it works just as beautifully without flouring the oxtail. I also added an extra can of tomatoes to the veggies, because I love that tomatoey flavour, and if you want a quick alternative to the basil dumplings, it goes really well with polenta.

Also, I've done it with just one oxtail - just leave all the other ingredients exactly the same, don't halve the wine or veggies and you'll be fine. And it does indeed reheat perfectly.

Mmmm... looking forward to making this again. A credit crunch treat.

emmjay's picture

What size bottle of wine do you use? I'm in Australia and when a recipe calls for a "bottle of wine", we use a standard 750ml bottle. Is this the size to use? Hoping someone can answer my question, as I'd love to try this recipe, but 750ml of wine seems a bit too much.

mmm204's picture

I cooked this for my family recently and they really enjoyed it. The recipe was very easy to follow and the sauce was completely unctuous and tasty. I will definitely cook with oxtail again and would cook this again too.

The only thing that I felt I wasn't as pleased with were the basil dumplings - although not obnoxious in any way, I have to admit that I much prefer dumplings made with suet. I also made the casserole with buttery mashed potato which went really well with the sauce.

mmm204's picture

Am going to make this recipe next week. Looking forward to it.

schubun33's picture

Very disappointed with this recipe, made this as the weekend for Sunday lunch we halved the recipe and after 3 hours cooking time all we were left with was a dry casserole dish with burnt vegetables on the bottom, I can only assume that the oven temp it too high to cook for 3 hours, or is there additional stock to go in as well as the 1/2 bottle of wine as it only said to crumble in a stock cube - very disappointed but the dumplings were lovely and very easy to make just a shame about the stew. So am still on the hunt for a good slow cooked Oxtail recipe.

michelebeevers's picture

I am 64 yrs old and have always assumed that dumplings were made using suet! I found this recipe and they were stunning. Light and fuffly and perfect with beef stew. I wi use this recipe from now on. Thank you.


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