Oxtail Stew

Make this staple of Jamaican cuisine using Bluewater Pepper Farm Hot Smokey Chipotle powder for awesome flavour and heat. Serve with rice and peas along with a side of salad or vegetable.

Make this staple of Jamaican cuisine using Bluewater Pepper Farm Hot Smokey Chipotle powder for awesome flavour and heat. Serve with rice and peas along with a side of salad or vegetable.

Oxtail stew

Oxtail stew is classic Jamaican comfort food.  Oxtail is a tough, bony cut of beef that needs a lot of cooking to tenderize it, extract full flavour and achieve the gelatinous texture that's the hallmark of a nice oxtail.  Everyone has their own variation, so there is no "standard" recipe for oxtail stew. This version is the one Tony's been making for years from memory. While it's traditionally cooked for hours in a dutch oven (dutchie or dutch pot in Jamaica) we prefer to use the Instant Pot to achieve a perfect braise while speeding things up.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Jamaican
Keyword Bluewater Pepper Farm hot smokey chipotle, oxtail stew
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 6


For the marinade

  • 1 tsp Bluewater Pepper Farm Hot Smokey Chipotle powder Adjust to suit your heat preference. 1 tsp gives a mild to medium heat, so if you like it hot, add up to a tablespoon
  • 1 tsp Grace's browning sauce Most grocery stores carry this, but if you can't find it, just use a little molasses.
  • 1 1/2 lbs Oxtail, cut into smallish pieces Small 1" chunks are the ideal size. This quantity is about half of a whole oxtail
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp whole allspice, crushed 6 to 8 allspice seeds
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme Use 3 or 4 sprigs of fresh thyme if you have it
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder

Additional ingredients

  • 1 tsp cooking oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp ketchup Use a tablespoon of sauce from chipotles in adobo if you have it
  • 1 cup beef broth dissolve 1 bullion cube in boiling water
  • 1/2 to 1 cup water
  • 1 8 oz can Lima beans (aka broad beans), drained I like to cook these from scratch in the Instant Pot. Soak them overnight and they'll cook in 8 minutes on high pressure.


Marinate the Oxtail

  • Mix all the marinade ingredients(browning sauce, salt, paprika, allspice, thyme, onion powder and chipotle powder) in a medium bowl.
  • Add the oxtail, mixing well for an even coating
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight

Cooking instructions

  • Heat your Instant Pot by selecting Sauté, high. Add the oil
  • When it's hot, add the oxtail pieces in a single layer, leaving a bit of space between them so steam can escape. Give it 3-5 minutes or so, then turn over and brown the other side. Set aside in a bowl when browning done.
  • Put onion and garlic in the pan (add oil if needed) to soften up for 2 minutes
  • Add the beef stock and 1/2 cup of water to deglaze the pan, making sure to scrape the brown bits off the bottom – loads of flavour in there!
  • Next, add back the oxtail plus the ketchup and brown sugar.
  • Set your Instant Pot to pressure cook on high for 1 hour.
  • When time's up, natural pressure release is best, but if you're in a rush for time, quick release is fine. Check the oxtail for tenderness – it should be falling off the bone. If not, put the lid back on and pressure another 10 minutes. There's quite a bit of variation between different batches of oxtail – normally an hour is more than enough, but in other cases, it just needs to cook longer.
  • Once it's nice and tender, toss in the lima beans and simmer to reduce the liquid to a nice gravy another 10 or 20 minutes. The beans serve as a thickener. Taste and adjust the salt to your liking.

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