African Spicy Oxtail Stew – rich, flavorful, spicy stew with fall-off the bones tender oxtail meat that is ready to wet your appetite. Best paired with rice, plantains, and yams. Insanely delicious!
This weekend was a very hectic one for me – attended a super fun workshop, took my son to Disneyland and was left with very little energy and big appetite. I love to cook, grocery shopping…. not so much. So I turned to my overflowing pantry and fridge, to see if I can whip up something simple yet delicious. African stew is an obvious choice because it is an easy recipe to make and the ingredients are already in your pantry and fridge
African stews have a clear distinction from “soups” in Africa. They are thick require a longer cooking time over medium heat and always have a strong tomato presence – tomato sauce, paste, puree or combination of both or all . It is made with meat, fish, chicken or vegetarian. Though I have not come across any vegetarian stew, some people make it without protein.
There are many variations of stew, as there are cooks in Africa each with its own unique flavor or blend. The meat or protein is boiled until tender, and then simmered slowly for two main reasons; to bring out the flavors in the tomatoes and reduce the signature tang found in tomatoes sauce. A good African stew is one that has been stripped off its tang or acidic taste.
In this recipe, I use tomatoes, onions, bell pepper, fresh thyme, curry powder and my favorite tough cut of meat- oxtail. Although, they are overlooked by everyone, it is such a flavorful cut of meat. After boiling the meat, you will have a thin layer of oil that will come to the top of the stock. You can use a spoon to remove the thin layer of fatty oil, or better yet boil the oxtail a day in advance, refrigerate gently remove the layer of fat.
Most people cook their meat until it falls off the bone. To me, sucking and nibbling the bones is part of the fun of eating oxtail. So it stays on.
This soup is delicious with all kinds of starches like rice, plantains, and yams.
African Spicy Oxtail Stew
- 4 pounds oxtail
- 1 medium onion
- 2 garlic clove chopped
- 3.8 oz canned tomatoes
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 sprig of thyme , 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon curry
- 1 green bell pepper
- 2 green onions
- 1 maggi/1 tablespoon bouillon
- 1 habenara pepper optional
- salt and pepper to taste
- Boil oxtail with salt, pepper and some chopped onions in a medium pot until tender. It will take approximately 40 to 45 minutes. I used pressure cooker to shorten the process. Reserve the stock for later use. Remove fatty oil if desired
- Add ½ cup oil to the pot/pan and fry the oxtail for about 5 minutes.
- Then, add the chopped garlic to perfume the oil and meat , continue frying the meat for1- 2 minutes, be careful not to let the garlic burn
- Next add tomato sauce, tomato paste, curry and fresh thyme . Stir the pot frequently to prevent the sauce from sticking to the pot
- Add salt and bouillon according to preference with about 2 cups of stock. Bring to a boil and let it simmer to blend all the flavors and reduce acidity of the tomato sauce. Approximately 30-40 minutes. Stir occasionally adding water as needed
- Finally add green onions and green pepper. Adjust seasonings, soup consistency with water/stock and salt.
- Serve warm with desired side dish.