Margarita's Restaurant Recipes

Zuni Cafe

Oxtails Braised in Red Wine

Oxtails Braised in Red Wine

I have made oxtails stews many times (you can check out my recipes for Andalusian Oxtail Stew, Basque Oxtail Stew and Creole Oxtails) but I had never made braised oxtails before. Indeed, I had never braised anything before and part of my reason for making this recipe was giving braising a try.

I'm happy I did, cooking oxtails this way was more time consuming than in a stew, but the oxtails were incredible. The sauce evaporated and caramelized on the meat, giving it a deep flavor with some hints of sweetness. The sauce was very rich and it went wonderfully with the buttermilk mashed potatoes with which I served it. Once again my only complaint was that the recipe only turned scant four servings - you certainly want to have some leftovers!

I deviated from the original recipe ("OR") in several ways. The OR calls for four cups of beef stock simmered and reduced in half. I decided to use "better than bouillon" stock and, using half as much water as I'd normally need. The OR also said to cover the braising pan with wax paper, but I skipped it as I didn't have any. The OR called for judging how spent the vegetable were and either removing them or mashing them. This was too much trouble for me so I decided to keep the veggies. Finally, the OR called for reheating in the oven - I decided to do it on the stove top as it was easier for me (and I needed the oven for other stuff). Needless to say, it worked great.

I was able to do all the cooking in one pot by using a wide, shallow casserole. If you don't have a brassier or a pot like this you may be able to use a roasting pan to braise them, you can cover the braise with aluminum foil instead of a lid.

Oxtails Braised in Red Wine


  • 4 lbs oxtails
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • 2 cubes beef bouillion or equivalent
  • 1 3/cup red wine
  • a splash of brandy
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 small head garlic, trimmed and halved
  • a sprig of thyme
  • a few black peppercorns
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 2" chunks
  • a few stalks of celery, cut into 2" chunks
  • 1 medium yellow onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes, drained


    A couple of days before preparing this dish trim the excess fat from the oxtails and salt them using sea or kosher salt. Cover loosely and refrigerate.

    Preheat oven to 300F.

    Take the oxtails from the refrigerator and dry with a paper towel. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the oxtails and brown on every side.

    Meanwhile, boil 2 cups of water and mix in the beef bouillon cubes. Leave aside.

    Once the oxtails are all brown, remove them and set them aside. Pour out the oil/fat from the skillet and clean the skillet with a paper towel. Add the wine and the brandy and bring to a boil over medium-high heat while you scrape the pan. Simmer until the wine is reduced by half. Add the beef bouillon, bring to a boil and remove from heat.

    Assemble the braise Arrange the oxtails in a wide, oven-safe pan. Arrange the vegetables and herbs in between the oxtails. Pour wine mixtures on the pan. Pour in diced tomatoes. Cover tightly and put in the oven. Cook for 2 hours. Check the doneness and leave the lid slightly ajar, for the liquid to start evaporating. Cook for another 1 - 1 hours, until the meat is very tender. Remove from the oven, let cool and then place the whole pan in the fridge.

    Once the meat has cooled down and the fat has congealed on top of the braise, take it out of the fridge and scoop out (and discard) all the fat. Return the pan to the stove and heat, uncovered, until it starts boiling. Simmer for another hour or until the sauce reduces and clings to the meat. Serve.

    Adapted from the recipe for Oxtails Braised in Red Wine, page 377 of The Zuni Cafe Cookbookt.

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