Braised Oxtails with Red Wine Sauce

This is a perfect dish for fall dinners. Have plenty of Blue Dog bread on hand for sopping up the sauce. Mashed potatoes, celery root salad or purée, or roasted cauliflower are all excellent vegetables to serve on the side. Make this dish at least one day ahead; that way you can refrigerate the sauce overnight and very easily remove the chilled fat. You can braise the oxtails in the oven, slow cooker or in a pressure cooker.
By / Photography By E. S. Bruhmann | September 01, 2010


  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Rinse and pat dry the oxtails, season with salt and pepper. Place on a heavy-duty cookie sheet and roast 40 minutes. Turn them over with tongs at 20 minutes. They should be nicely browned, which adds flavor.
  3. While the oxtails are browning, pour all the wine a heavy 4- to 6-quart saucepan and boil until reduced by about half (about 3¼ cups). (The wine reduction takes about 40 minutes.)
  4. Coarsely chop shallots, garlic, carrots, leeks, onion and celery. (You can do just about any combination of these — you need about 4 cups total. I tend to go heavier on garlic and carrots and lighter on onion.) In a deep, heavy, ovenproof pot just large enough to hold oxtails in one layer, heat 1 tablespoon butter over moderately high heat until foam subsides.
  5. Lower heat to moderately low, add vegetables to the pot, and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have softened (about 10 minutes).
  6. Arrange browned oxtails over vegetables and add reduced wine, herbs and enough broth to just cover oxtails. (If you are making the celery root salad or a celery root purée, be sure to put some of the tops with leaves in at this point.)
  7. Bring liquid to a boil and braise oxtails, covered, in middle of oven 3 to 3½ hours, or until meat is very tender but not falling off the bone.
  8. Options: You can also do this step in a slow cooker set on high for 5 or 6 hours, or in a pressure cooker for about 45 minutes.
  9. Transfer oxtails with a slotted spoon to a bowl and keep warm, if serving immediately. (If planning to serve the next day, place them a bowl with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate.) Pour braising liquid through a fine sieve into a large saucepan and discard solids.
  10. Boil liquid until thick, shiny and reduced to about 2 cups and whisk in remaining tablespoon butter. y alternately: After straining the liquid, refrigerate it overnight.
  11. The next day, simply lift off the chilled layer of fat and discard it.
  12. Boil it down to 2 cups and then whisk in butter. Reheat the oxtails in the sauce.


  • Two 750ml bottles dry red wine
  • 12 large oxtail pieces (about 6 pounds total)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 5 shallots
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2 medium leeks (white parts only)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 celery ribs
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 bunch parsley stems
  • Leaves and a few inches of stem of celery root (optional)
  • About 4 cups beef broth
Build your own subscription bundle.
Pick 3 regions for $60