Jamaican Oxtail With Tasty Black Beans

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by Lisa Hugh MSHS RD LDN CLT

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I learned how to cook this Jamaican Oxtail Stew from my Jamaican Mother-In-Law, who taught my boys to eat oxtails from a very young age.

This authentic Jamaican Oxtail recipe is made with dried black beans (or canned black beans), oxtails, and simple ingredients that are high in flavor. Jamaican style oxtails are usually made with broad beans (also called fava beans) but my children prefer the smaller black beans. 

This is not a quick recipe, so don’t rush it. Think about making this recipe when you are meal prepping for the week ahead or on a day you wake up super early and know you’ll want a hearty dinner. Or, if you like a heavier meal in the morning, prep this before you go to bed for a great hot meal in the morning. ​

Oxtails in a package, straight from the grocery store. They are often sold frozen.
Oxtails in a bowl after being unwrapped and washed. Getting ready to cook!
Getting ready to cook, using all single ingredient groceries. Here we have black pepper, white salt, pink salt, pimento, parsley, paprika, bay leaves and frozen onion and pepper strips.
Don’t forget to add fresh thyme. (Fresh thyme can be frozen and stored in zip lock bags in the freezer.)
Getting ready to start cooking the OxTail. Most of the ingredients are in the pressure cooker. The black beans and garlic have not yet been added.
Jamaican Oxtail with Tasty Black Beans. The meat is falling off the bone and the fat and collagen is incorporated into the flavorful broth. (The bay leaves, pimento and thyme are still intact. Don’t eat them.)
Here’s a small bowl of the oxtail stew with black beans. The long cooking process has made the meat so tender that it easily falls off the bone. Parts of the bone separate as well. The bay leaf makes a pretty garnish, but don’t eat it.

Jamaican Oxtail With Tasty Black Beans

Servings 8

Prep Time: 00:15
Cook Time: 10:00

Main Ingredients

1.5 – 2 pounds sliced oxtail (frozen, washed)
2 cups sliced onions, green peppers, red peppers. (i use a frozen mix to save time. )
2 tablespoons minced garlic
10 pimentos
1 teaspoon paprika
6 whole bay leaves
1.5 teaspoons black pepper
1.5 teaspoons salt (i like pink salt in this recipe. sea salt is also great. )
1 .5 teaspoons onion powder
1.5 teaspoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons parsley flakes
10 sprigs of thyme (fresh or frozen)
3 cups water
6 cups prepared black beans (this is the equivalent of one pound of dried beans that have been soaked and cooked according to package instructions. )

Preparation

1 Add the Oxtails to the pot.
2 Add all vegetables, herbs, and seasonings. (Do not add the beans yet.)
3 Add water.
4 Cook in Pressure Cooker for 1.5 hours.
5 Add beans.
6 Cook in Pressure Cooker for additional 30 minutes.
7 After two hours of cooking in the pressure cooker, the meat will be cooked and softened but the connective tissue will not be fully broken down.
8 Cook on Low Temp Cook / Slow Cooker setting for 6 hours.
9 This allows the meat to be cooked to a darker color and the meat will easily fall from the bone. The connective tissue will be fully broken down. The marrow will release in to the sauce (or can be sucked out of the bone).
10 Also, there is a small disk-shaped bone in the center of the top of the oxtail slices. This should easily slide off the rest of the bone when the connective tissue has been fully broken down.

Oxtail Nutrition

Oxtails are relatively high in fat and this is partly why they taste so good. (However, if a lower fat or lower calorie diet is needed, the fat can be skimmed out of this dish, either while hot or after it has been cooled.)

Ox tail is high in collagen, which is why they require a longer cooking time with plenty of liquid. Collagen is an important protein in bone broths and has lots of health benefits.

This recipe also offers the health benefits of bay leaves, thyme, garlic, pimento, parsley, onions and peppers. 

Recipe Adaptations

This recipe can be adapted in several ways to meet your preferences or dietary needs.

  • Canned beans can be used in place of dried beans.
  • Black beans can be swapped out for other types of beans.
  • Ginger can be added for an additional layer of flavor. Either dried ginger or fresh ginger would work. 
  • Scotch Bonnet Pepper can be added for spice. Handle these with care. I recommend using gloves when working with these very hot peppers.
  • A dash of soy sauce or tomato ketchup can be added to increase the umami taste (or savory taste) of this dish. (These are not single ingredient groceries, but can be very helpful in recipes, if tolerated.)
  • Some people use Worcestershire sauce in oxtail stew, but I’m not fond of the vinegar flavor.
  • I use frozen onions, red peppers and green peppers because they are easy. Fresh onions and peppers can be used in varying combinations.
  • Salt and pepper can be adjusted to taste.
  • If you can’t eat beans, you can omit these from the recipe and enjoy a rich beef broth. 

Oxtail Cooking Variations

I like to cook oxtail stew in my Power Cooker. This allows the oxtails to cook at high heat and pressure for a while and then slow cooked overnight. This makes the meat so soft that it easily drops off the bone. And it allows the vegetables and herbs to be really incorporated in to the gravy.

  • Oxtails can also be cooked in a large pot or dutch oven on the stove, using medium heat for most of the cooking time. With this method, you’ll definitely need to be stirring occasionally. 
  • This recipe uses frozen oxtail (because it is often sold frozen). If your oxtail is fresh or thawed out, the time in the pressure cooker can be reduced. 

Oxtail Serving Suggestions

  • Oxtails and rice is a wonderful combination but the dish can be served several ways.
  • A customary way of serving this dish would be with a side of Jamaican Rice and Peas and a steamed vegetable.
  • This recipe could also be served slow carb diet style, by serving the oxtail and beans with a large serving of vegetables and no rice.
  • Keto Oxtail could be made using the above recipe but excluding the beans. The stew could be served on its own or with riced cauliflower.
  • Scallions or green onions can be used as a pretty garnish. 
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