The goal here will be to create the perfect curry sauce to slowly braise the pieces of oxtails in, until the meat is falling off the bones with delicious goodness.
4 lbs oxtails cut and trimmed
1 teaspoon salt
pinch of black pepper
2 tablespoon curry powder
2 tablespoon veg oil
1 heaping tablespoon Caribbean Green Seasoning
1 tomato (diced)
1 onion (diced)
5 cloves garlic (diced fine or crushed)
1 scotch bonnet pepper
4 allspice (pimento) berries
4 sprigs thyme
5 cups water
2 tablespoon chopped shado beni (or cilantro)
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 cup diced celery
thick slice of ginger – optional
Trim off as much fat as you can off the oxtail pieces, wash and drain. Then season with salt, black pepper, Caribbean Green Seasoning, tomato and ketchup. Mix well and let marinate in the fridge for a few hours.
Heat the oil in a heavy/deep pot on medium heat, then add the diced onion and garlic. Turn the heat down to low and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Now add the curry powder (heat still on low) and toast for another 3-4 minutes. This step will awaken the spices which makes up the curry blend.
Add a bit more oil if it’s overly dry. The curry will go darker and grainy – that’s natural. Raise the heat to high and go in with the seasoned oxtail pieces. Stir well to coat with that lovely curry goodness we created. The wet pieces of meat will deglaze the pot.
Meanwhile in the same bowl you marinated the oxtail, add the water and move around to pick up any remaining marinade (set aside). Place the lid on the pot and bring to a boil. It will release natural juices.. as it comes to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, cover the pot and let it go for about 10-15 minutes. Remember to stir. Then remove the lid, turn up the heat and burn off all that natural liquid. We’re infusing the oxtails with that rich curry sauce.
When you start seeing the oil we started with at the bottom of the pan it’s time to go in with the water, thyme, WHOLE scotch bonnet pepper, diced celery and all spice berries. Bring this to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cover the pot. Lets that slowly braise for a couple hours, until tender. This is where you would add it to a pressure cooker (less water though) or slow cooker if you choose to go that route.
Since we started with oil and knowing that oxtails can be VERY fatty, halfway through cooking you’ll need to use a large spoon and skim off some of the fat you’ll see at the surface. No matter how you trim the oxtail pieces, you will get fat. PLEASE remove that.. lets try to do things a little healthy.
After 2.5 to 3 hours (depends on how tough the oxtails you got are), it’s time to remove the lid, bring up the temperature and burn off the liquid until you have a nice thick gravy. Remember to NOT break the scotch bonnet pepper unless you want that raw Caribbean heat. Taste for salt and after you’ve got tender pieces of oxtails in that wicked curry sauce, it’s time to shut the stove off and top with the chopped shado beni (culantro). If you cannot source shado beni, feel free to use cilantro.
Do remember to remove the sprigs of thyme and scotch bonnet before serving and be mindful that the allspice (aka pimento in Jamaica) berries will be in the gravy. This is indeed the ultimate curry oxtail recipe – I assure you. IMPORTANT! If doing this the gluten free way do pay attention to the ingredient list above, especially the ‘curry powder’ as some brands of curry tend to add flour as a filler to their curry blend and will not conform to your gluten free dietary needs.