Member recipe

Oxtail and ‘Waterblommetjie’ Stew

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Cooking time

Prep: 45 minutes Cook: 4 hours and 30 minutes

Skill level



Serves 6

This is a favorite South African slow braised oxtail stew with 'Waterblommetjies' or Cape Pondweed and other veggies included. Traditionally this dish would be cooked outdoors over slow coals for 3 - 4 hours.

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  • 4 tbsp. plain flour
  • 1 tbsp. smoked paprika (regular is also good)
  • Salt / course ground black pepper
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil (or sunflower) for frying
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. tomato purée
  • 2 bay leaves, rosemary sprig and thyme sprig, tied together (bouquet garni)
  • 500ml red wine (merlot or cabernet sauvignon work well)
  • 250ml vegetable or chicken stock (beef stock tends to make the gravy too rich)
  • 250ml fresh cream
  • 2 oxtails cut into pieces (+/- 800g to 1kg)


  • 2 red onions, diced
  • 3 carrots cut into small chunks
  • 2 celery sticks, cut into small chunks
  • 8-10 pearl/baby onions peeled
  • 8-10 baby potatoes (skin on, washed)
  • 10 baby marrows chopped into chunks
  • 8-10 whole baby corn
  • 8-10 whole yellow patty pan squash
  • 400g white button mushrooms (Shiitake if you can find them)
  • 800g canned ‘Waterblommetjies’ or Cape pondweed (mostly found in South Africa)
  • Save 300ml of the ‘Waterblommetjie’ brine


  1. I make this stew a day in advance…the longer the ingredients get to know each other the better it tastes.

  2. Heat oven to 140˚C (fan) or 120˚C.

  3. Season the flour with the paprika, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add the oxtail pieces and coat evenly. Heat the oil and butter (med-hi heat) in a large ovenproof cast-iron pot/casserole on the stove. Brown the meat well on all sides. Remove meat from the pot, then add the diced red onion, chopped carrots, chopped celery sticks and the garlic and fry for 3-4 mins. (med heat) until you see some caramelisation. Stir in the bouquet garni and tomato puree. Add the meat and juices back into the pot.

  4. The veggies now need to be added in layers according to cooking times. Add the baby potatoes at the bottom – they take the longest to cook. Then add the baby marrow and yellow patty pan squash. Next add the pearl/baby onions followed by the baby corn. Lastly add the mushrooms on top. If you do have ‘Waterblommetjies’, they must not be added yet, only much later.

  5. Pour over the wine, and add the stock. Season with salt and pepper, add the lid to the pot and braise in the oven for 3½ hrs. Do NOT stir at any stage. If you’re making it ahead of time, chill in the fridge and lift any fat off the top before reheating again.

  6. Add the ‘waterblommetjies’, the saved ‘waterblommetjie’ brine and the fresh cream. Using a spoon, gently part the ingredients aside to allow the brine and cream to combine with the rest of the gravy. Do NOT stir. Replace the lid and return to the oven (reduce heat to 120˚C/fan or 100˚C) for an addition hour.

  7. If the gravy is still a bit thin, you can place the pot on the stove and gently reduce it down to your liking.

  8. Serve as is or with rice, corn, couscous, ‘mieliepap’ (maize meal porridge) or dumplings if you like. Enjoy.

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