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)

aussiechick's picture

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aussiechick's picture

Delicious! Left out the dumplings & followed the inspired suggestion below & served it with yorkies. Perfect on a cold wintry Australian night. Another winner, Barney, love your recipes.

chezzaleach's picture

This recipe is lush, I did the oxtail but without the dumplings there was enough for two separate meals, the second one with James Martin's homemade yorkies, lush! Totally recommend and will definitely do again

jennypiccolo's picture

Made this yesterday morning to have in the evening. Used 2 oxtail which the butcher in Waitrose happened to have in packs. Followed the recipe exactly except I didn't make dumplings. Once the oxtail came out of the oven I shredded the meat off the bones and mixed it in with the sauce and left to cool. Then in the evening I simply reheated it in a large pan and served it with pasta in a big bowl . It was absolutely delicious and we kept helping ourselves to seconds, thirds and fourths until it had all gone. Very easy and will definitely make over and over again.

ifeyinwa00's picture

Lovely recipe. I cooked the dumplings in the stew so they soaked up all the sauce. The stew was delicious but next time I would change the dumpling recipe as the dumplings were drier than I was used to. Next time increase the fat content of the dumplings - if you prefer dumplings with a richer taste.

vlatus's picture

1 oxtail is about four or five pieces of decreasing size, the smallest (tip of the tail) was about tumb size, the biggest about 3 inches in diameter. We made 1 oxtail stretch between 5 people by adding plenty of vegetables, which was ok for us as we don't eat large amounts of meat but if I can get oxtail again, I would use 2 because it was really lovely. I didn't use red wine either. The dumplings went down well too.

lizleicester's picture

Halved the quantities and guessed the amount of oxtail by weight. Ended up with 1.2kg for a generous serving for 2 which could easily have stretched to 3 portions. Cooked it all in the slow cooker on low for 10 hours and then re-heated it a day or so later when we wanted to eat it. Delicious.

coogeekitten's picture

This is a fantastic recipe, I was initially surprised at the quantity of wine but it tasted beautiful. I used approximately 1.5kg of oxtail and would probably use less next time (just to have more sauce). I won't make the dumplings again though, the basil taste was a bit strange...

gennyt's picture

I didn't try the dumplings but the oxtail was delicious!

It would be helpful if the recipe gave an approximate weight for the oxtail though. I bought mine by weight and was not sure how this compared to 'two oxtail'.

lelooni's picture

Very nice, the gravy was lovely and rich. I was a bit shocked that the recipe asked for a full bottle of wine, but understood why when I tasted it. My husband didn't eat very much of it, I think he may have been put off with it being oxtail, it was Donald Russell oxtail so really lovely quality. I also made the dumplings with suet as I usually do they were nice and fluffy.
Will I make it again??? Probably not but I will try the full bottle of wine in a rather nice stew I make. If its any good I will post the recipe.

mrsgilf's picture

How long in a slow cooker please and on low, med or high

nazmataz's picture

Gosh! What an amazing meal. I bought some waitrose mash as a back up as well as making the dumplings because I wasn't sure and I'm glad that I did. The dumplings came out really lovely and fluffy but the mash just complemented the sauce and the oxtail so well. Cannot extol the virtues of this dish enough! Just heavenly. I halved the portion of meat but I am gutted now because its all finished! :(( simple, humble, delicious :))))

adza81's picture

Can someone give me a guide for the weight of oxtail used in this recipe?

Many thanks, Adam.

marguerite_caunt's picture

This was absolutely fantastic! Made it on a cold Canadian winter's evening and it went down a treat! Warms the old cockles for sure! Didn't do the dumplings, but will next time.

davidogg's picture

Very good. I used half quantities and it worked fine. Kept an eye on it and added a wee bit water at one point. Dumplings were inconsistent - will try them again, though, and see if I can improve my technique. Certainly nothing wring with the recipe. Thanks very much!

sarahclapton's picture

yummy , melt in the mouth

eatdrinkbmerry's picture

Well I live in Malaysia and since there is NO winter, tried it anyway..... A wonderful meal and so simple...... Actually easier than actually finding the oxtail..... Hehe

eatdrinkbmerry's picture

Well I live in Malaysia and since there is NO winter, tried it anyway..... A wonderful meal and so simple...... Actually easier than actually finding the oxtail..... Hehe

missshiraz's picture

Truely divine! Never cooked Oxtail myself before but spied some in the butchers on Friday, made it and left it to mature for 2 days and WOW!

Thanks Barney your recipes are fabulous! Dumplings were bliss too!

k8simmons's picture

Made this recipe for family friends, the two men were big eaters. I served with mash and the rosemary spiked cabbage recipe and it was totally divine....... The only comment I could possibly make against it was that the gravy was slighty fatty in the slow cooker and I was a bit unsure, but I needn't have worried........ I am trying it on the kids this weekend.


Questions (1)

cavedweller's picture

Can anyone tell me how to do this recipe in a slow cooker, times and settings please? My husband has made this dish several times using this method as described and it was wonderful, but would like to try it in the slow cooker. Thanks

Tips (1)

stewie2806's picture

If a red wine sauce isn't you cup of tea, I cook mine in a rich ale, Badger ale. Slow cooked for 8 hours