Jamaican Oxtail Stew

Savor the Flavor of the Caribbean with Jamaican Oxtail Stew

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Transport your taste buds to the vibrant streets of Jamaica with our tantalizing Jamaican Oxtail Stew recipe. Bursting with rich and savory flavors, this hearty stew is a beloved dish that captures the essence of Caribbean cuisine. Made with succulent oxtails, aromatic spices, and wholesome vegetables, this stew is a comforting and satisfying meal that’s perfect for chilly evenings or special gatherings. Join us as we embark on a culinary journey to Jamaica and discover the secrets to creating this flavorful masterpiece in your own kitchen.

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  • 3 pounds oxtails, trimmed of excess fat
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon browning sauce (optional for color)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Scotch bonnet pepper, seeded and chopped (use gloves and handle with care!)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme or 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon allspice (also known as pimento)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 1 can (15 ounces) butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Marinate the Oxtails: In a large bowl, combine the oxtails, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and browning sauce (if using). Toss the oxtails until they are evenly coated in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight for maximum flavor.
  2. Sear the Oxtails: In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, sear the marinated oxtails until they are browned on all sides. Transfer the oxtails to a plate and set aside.
  3. Saute Aromatics: In the same pot, add the chopped onion, green onions, minced ginger, minced garlic, chopped Scotch bonnet pepper, dried thyme (if using), and allspice. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent and the aromatics are fragrant.
  4. Deglaze the Pot: Return the seared oxtails to the pot. Sprinkle the sugar over the oxtails and stir to coat. Pour in the beef broth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot for added flavor.
  5. Simmer the Stew: Bring the stew to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and let the stew simmer gently for 2-3 hours, or until the oxtails are tender and the flavors have melded together.
  6. Add Vegetables: Once the oxtails are tender, add the sliced carrots and drained butter beans to the pot. Continue to simmer the stew for an additional 30 minutes, or until the carrots are tender and the beans are heated through.
  7. Adjust Seasonings: Taste the stew and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed. Remove the Scotch bonnet pepper if desired, or leave it in for extra heat.
  8. Serve: Ladle the Jamaican Oxtail Stew into bowls and serve hot, garnished with additional sliced green onions if desired. Enjoy with rice, dumplings, or Jamaican festival bread for a complete and satisfying meal.

Cook Notes and Variations

  • Slow Cooker Method: For added convenience, you can prepare this stew in a slow cooker. Simply follow steps 1-4 to sear the oxtails and saute the aromatics, then transfer everything to a slow cooker along with the beef broth. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until the oxtails are tender.
  • Make-Ahead Option: This stew tastes even better the next day, so feel free to make it ahead of time and refrigerate it overnight. The flavors will have a chance to develop and intensify, resulting in an even more delicious dish.
  • Vegetarian Version: For a vegetarian twist, you can omit the oxtails and use hearty vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, and squash instead. Substitute vegetable broth for the beef broth and add extra beans for protein.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions

For those following a keto or low-carb lifestyle, consider the following modifications:

  • Omit Sugar: Skip the sugar or use a keto-friendly sweetener such as erythritol or stevia to keep the stew low in carbs.
  • Increase Vegetables: Load up on low-carb vegetables such as bell peppers, cauliflower, and broccoli to bulk up the stew without adding extra carbs.
  • Serve with Cauliflower Rice: Instead of serving the stew with traditional rice, opt for cauliflower rice as a low-carb alternative.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can I use a different type of meat instead of oxtails? A: While oxtails are traditional for Jamaican Oxtail Stew, you can substitute beef stew meat or lamb for a similar flavor and texture.

Q: How spicy is Scotch bonnet pepper? A: Scotch bonnet peppers are known for their intense heat, so use caution when handling and chopping them. If you prefer a milder stew, you can omit the pepper or use a milder variety such as jalapeno.

Q: Can I freeze leftovers? A: Yes, Jamaican Oxtail Stew freezes well. Let it cool completely, then transfer it to airtight containers or freezer bags and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

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In conclusion, Jamaican Oxtail Stew is a soul-warming dish that embodies the rich flavors and vibrant spices of Caribbean cuisine. With its tender oxtails, aromatic spices, and hearty vegetables, this stew is a true taste of Jamaica that’s sure to delight your senses and transport you to the sunny shores of the Caribbean. Whether you’re cooking for a crowd or simply craving a taste of island-inspired comfort food, this recipe is sure to become a new favorite in your culinary repertoire. So gather your ingredients and get ready to savor the deliciousness of Jamaican Oxtail Stew in every savory spoonful!

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