This recipe was adapted from NYT Cooking's adaptation of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery and Grill oxtail stew recipe. The slow build up of flavours in this recipe is worth it and you only need to taste the finished stew to understand why the cooking process is slow and methodical. This Jamaican oxtail stew is a rich brown stew with succulent fall-off-the-bone pieces of oxtail. From the browning of the meat with sugar, right down to the use of whole allspice berries, each ingredient gives the stew layers of complex flavours. This stew is best served with white rice and peas and classic Jamaican sides like fried plantain. It is absolutely perfect for the cold winter months.
Jamaican Oxtail Stew 7 Steps
Season oxtails with salt and pepper. Place in the fridge overnight or for at least 2 hours.
When ready to cook, in a large Dutch oven or a heavy-bottomed pot over high heat, add brown sugar and the oxtail to pot and melt sugar, stirring with a wooden spoon, until it darkens and starts to smoke -- about six minutes. When sugar is nearly black, add 1 tablespoon of butter Stir to mix. Add 2 tablespoons of water.
Remove oxtails to a bowl and keep warm.
Add half of the onions, garlic and ginger to the pot, along with the pepper, thyme, allspice and a third of the scallions, and stir to combine. Allow to cook until softened, approximately 5 minutes.
Place oxtails back into pot with onion mixture, along with any accumulated juices and pour water into the pot so that the oxtails are almost fully submerged. Bring to a simmer and then cook, covered, approximately 1 hour, stirring occasionally. The blackened bottom should lift from your pot.
Add the remainder of the onions, garlic and ginger to the pot, along with another third of the scallions. Add sugar, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Stir to combine and continue to cook until the meat softens, and is loose on the bone. You will roughly achieve this texture after another hour of cooking. Taste for seasoning and be aware that your stew may reduce more. You may want to adjust soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce to taste.
Remove about one cup of liquid from pot and place in a small bowl. Add flour to this and stir to combine (using a whisk is the easiest way to get rid of lumps of flour). Add this slurry to the pot along with ketchup, then stir to combine and allow to cook another 15 minutes or so. Remove Scotch bonnet pepper and thyme stems. Fold butter beans into the stew and allow these to heat through. Scatter remaining scallions over the top. Serve with white rice or rice and peas, or your favourite sides like fried plantain.