Thursday, March 8, 2012

Oxtail Stewed with White Grapes (la queue de boeuf des vignerons)

I had an early start with March Random Recipe Challenge from Belleau Kitchen. The challenge is to count our cookery books from left to right until you get to your 17th book. There you would flip open a random page and that would be the recipe challenge you will have to create. My 17th book was  At Elizabeth David's Table and the random recipe I got was OXTAIL STEWED with WHITE GRAPES la queue de boeuf des vignerons.

When I first glanced at it I thought, oxtail! Now how is this going to taste? This looks difficult, can I do this? Where can I even find this meat? I've had to call 4 different grocery stores to find them. I was quite happy when I finally found a place where I can get them.

I'm no where near the level of expertise that most of the bloggers I see entering the challenges. We've not eaten this nor have cooked anything like this before. I'm not quite sure the kiddies and hubs would eat them if they knew what it was and I wouldn't want to waste food. I was willing to go out of my comfort zone. So here it is.............

TA DA!!!!

This was so delicious that both my kiddies ate them. My son particularly liked the sauce. It was sweet from the grapes and its juices, savoury from the seasoning and meat itself. The meat falls of the bones and melts in your mouth like butter. I never thought we would ever eat oxtail but this is one recipe you will enjoy. Hubs will give it a go tonight : ) I hope he likes it.


2 oxtails (5-6lb) cut into 2 inch lengths,
3-4oz pancetta
2 large onions
4 large carrots
a bouquet of 2 bay leaves, parsley, thyme and two crushed cloves of garlic tied in a bunch
salt, pepper and a little mace or allspice (I've used allspice)
2lb green grapes


Steep the oxtails in cold water for 2 hours, for the blood to soak out.
Chop the onions and dice the carrots. On a heavy cooking pan (I've used my cast iron dutch oven) place the pancetta with the vegetables on top. Start off on low flame or setting and cook for 10 minutes. Put the pieces of oxtail and the bouquet in the center. Season the meat with salt, pepper, allspice. Place the lid and gently cook for 20 minutes. Remove stems from the grapes and crush slightly in a bowl. Add them to the pot and cover with 2 sheets of parchment paper and the lid. Transfer to the oven at 275F and cook for a minimum of 3 1/2 hours. Once cooked transfer the oxtail and some of the pancetta bits to a serving dish. Skim off  the fat from the cooking liquid and press all the ingredients through a fine sieve. Pour the sauce over the oxtail.

Serve with mashed potatoes or rice.

Serves 6-8 ample helpings


  1. Well this is extremely brave of you and I am so glad you went ahead and did it and you all enjoyed it! It does look very good. Nice and deeply rich. I know that Elizabeth David can be a hard task to accomplish but I think you've done a most excellent job. I have never cooked oxtail so this is a recipe I am very tempted to try myself. Thank you so much for taking part. I love that you're enjoying the challenge. Dom x

    1. Thank you, I'm glad it turned out well and your challenges are a lot of fun. I'm able to try and cook and try dishes that I've never had before. There are so many wonderful and delicious recipes in this book that I want to try and cook for my family.

  2. I cooked oxtail soup many years ago and loved it. My nan always cooked it and said it was very good for you. She use to cook ox tongue too - but I have never attempted that. Anyway what a great dish yours turned to be so glad everyone enjoyed it.

    1. Thank you, I wasn't quite sure how it was going to turn out. I've not tried tongue either, I'm not that brave. I did see The Two Fat ladies make Queen Alexandra's tea sandwiches and it had lamb's tongue in it.

  3. I have never cooked this before. Very interesting recipe. Bookmark it! thank you!

    1. It's very good my hubs actually enjoyed it.

  4. I think oxtail makes excellent slow-cooked dishes and this is a classic. Lovely. The flavour will vary a lot with the type of grape used - I have come across it being made with quite sour-tasting grapes but I don't think that's right for the overall taste. As you say, the sweetness balances the other flavours.

    1. It was very nice. I was fortunate to have found grapes that was nice and sweet. It wasn't sour at all. : )

  5. Sounds really good! I love the combination!


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