Jamaican Style Stewed Oxtail and beans is a pressure cooked food. In this article we will discuss about its background, tools ingredients and a very easy way of cooking this food.
Oxtails were once considered refused meat and only a small number of shops would even sell it. It was very inexpensive scrap meat that the culinary world considered good for making beef stock. It is basically the tail of the cow with the hard outer skin removed leaving back fatty tender meat with a large center bone. The meat is braised and slow cooked in a rich dark stew with beans and sometimes tiny flour dumplings known as spinners. Oxtails are now extremely expensive, selling at about $11 a pound. It has become something that many families can no longer afford having to resort to subbing the beef for turkey necks.
The meat of oxtail tends to be tougher than other cuts of beef and needs a much longer cook time. Once it properly cooks, it will almost fall from the bone. It can also be tenderized in a pressure cooker which is the method I use for this recipe. I will share an updated slow cooked recipe and you can compare the results and let me know which you prefer. The seasonings in oxtail are the classic scallions, onions, thyme, garlic and tomatoes. The sauce is thickened with a bit of ketchup, pickapeppa sauce and lima beans. Give the recipe a try! I’m sure you will enjoy it.
For Jamaican Style Stewed Oxtail and Beans you will need:
- Cutting board
- Sharp knife
- Pressure cooker
- Large bowl
- 2 Disposable gloves
- 2lbs of oxtail
- 1 tbsp of Maggi all purpose seasoning
- 1 tsp of garlic powder
- 1 tsp of onion powder
- 1 tsp of black pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- ½ tsp white pepper
- 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
- 1 tbsp gravy master
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ cup frozen Lima Beans
- 1 plum tomato
- ½ of a medium onion
- 2 scallions
- 4-5 Fresh thyme sprigs
- ½ scotch bonnet pepper
- 3 tbsp ketchup
- 1 tbsp fish and meat sauce
- 1 bullion cube
- Remove excess fat from oxtail meat using a sharp knife and a cutting board. Rinse meat under cold running water. Drain and pat dry.
- In a large bowl, season oxtails with powdered seasonings, chopped garlic and gravy master sauce. Use a disposable glove to cover your hands and massage the seasonings into the meat. Marinate the meat in the refrigerator at least overnight.
- Take the oxtail from the fridge about 20 minutes before cooking to lower the temperature.
- In a large pressure cooker, heat 1 tbsp of oil on medium-high heat. Add in oxtail once the oil gets a little smokey. My pressure cooker is made for the stove top.
- Braise oxtail in oil turning often and allowing the meat to sear. The meat will begin to brown and caramelize. Do not add any liquid at this point. Keep a close watch and keep turning the meat to prevent it from burning. The meat should begin to sear and brown-up in about 5 minutes.
- Once the meat is brown on both sides and has a visible sear, add a small amount of water to the left over seasonings (about ½ cup) in the marinade bowl. Use the liquid to lift seasonings from the bowl by giving it a slight swirl. Pour the liquid from the marinade over the oxtail. Cover the pot and allow the water to cook off. Watch the pot closely as this will not take very long.
- Once the marinade water cooks off, use roughly 1-2 cups of water to fully cover the meat. For my pressure cooker, the instructions require that the water fully covers the meat before the top is attached. Water evaporates rapidly from a pressure cooker. If there is not enough water, the contents of the pot will burn but this could also cause an explosion. Be sure to read the user manual for your pressure cooker pot and follow the directions.
- Pressure the oxtail for about 15-20 minutes on high heat to tenderize it. Read the pressure cooker pot’s user manual as each brand varies with cook time. The older the pot, the more cook time may be needed to get the meat to tenderize. A newer pot may need less time. If you are not using a pressure cooker, you may need to cook the meat for 1.5-2 hours in order to tenderize it. The flavor is usually better in a stew that is not cooked in a pressure cooker but it isn't exceptionally different.
- Completely cool the pressure cooker before opening it. You may place it under running water so that all the steam is released from the pot before lifting the cover. Check to make sure the meat is tenderized by piercing it with a fork.
- Once the meat is tenderized discard the excess fat by scooping it from the top of the sauce with a large pot spoon. Discard the excess fat.
- To build the stew, add tomato, scallion, onion, thyme, hot pepper and frozen Lima beans to the pot and let it come up to a boil on high heat. Cook until the veggies start to break apart, about 10-12 minutes.
- Once the veggies get translucent and start to fall apart, add in ketchup, pickapeppa/fish and meat sauce and bullion cube. Taste the sauce for salt and add if necessary. Let the sauce thicken and reduce.
- Stewed oxtail is a food of love. You want a thick rich sauce to accompany the meat. Let the sauce reduce and be patient. The more it reduces, the fuller the taste becomes and the more delicious the stew.
- Some people like carrots and spinners in their oxtail. Feel free to add them.
- I did not add bell peppers to this stew. I think it completely changes the flavor profile in a way I don't like. If you have always used bell peppers in oxtail stew, try it without and let me know how you like it.