Braised oxtail with basil dumplings

Oxtail stew with dumplings

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(41 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

    Sunflower oil is made from pressing sunflower seeds and extracting the oil. It's usually…

  • 2 onions, chopped



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

  • 3 carrots, 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 cloves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • bay leaves and thyme sprigs, tied together
  • 1 bottle full-bodied red wine
  • 1 beef stock cube

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 a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 3 egg whites
  • 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, questions and tips

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7th Dec, 2019
Did anyone at all follow the actual receipt listed and make dumplings, rather than cooking their usual 'stews'?
2nd Mar, 2017
The braised oxtail is lovely and a great family meal. Don't make the dumplings simply because no one likes them in my family. I serve with mash and cabbage
3rd Jul, 2016
forgot to rate
3rd Jul, 2016
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.
23rd Feb, 2016
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
8th Nov, 2015
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.
31st Dec, 2014
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.
30th Sep, 2014
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.
6th May, 2014
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.
30th Apr, 2013
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...


18th Jul, 2013
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
23rd Dec, 2017
I'd go low for 9-10 hours
5th Nov, 2016
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
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