Jamaican Oxtail Stew with Butter Beans

This is my other half’s favourite dish. He loves it so much that I made it for him for Valentine’s Day, which is quite fitting as the preparation is a bit of a labour of love – but it is absolutely worth it. The result is tender flavoursome meat that falls off the bone, and a rich savoury gravy. Once the prep is out of the way the cooking is super easy – pretty much bung the rest of the ingredients in a pan and leave it to stew, which makes it ideal dish to make for a Sunday dinner.

This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission on any purchases made via these links at no additional cost to you. You can read my full disclaimer here.


NEVER MISS A RECIPE!

Subscribe to receive email updates:


Key Ingredients

(see below for full list of ingredients)

  • Oxtail: This is a flavoursome cut of meat that becomes really soft and tender as it is stewed.
  • Thyme: A staple herb in Jamaican cooking. It adds an earthy flavour.
  • Spring Onions: Adds savouriness to the gravy.
  • Pimento/All Spice: Pimento berries add a sweet cinnamon/nutmeg/clove flavour, hence its alternative name “all spice”. This is another staple in Jamaican cooking
  • Brown Sugar and Browning: Browning the meat prior to stewing it is a vital step to making this dish. The meat won’t taste the same unless it is browned off first. I use brown sugar and Sarson’s Browning for this. The brown sugar caramelises and adds to the deep flavours of the meat. And the Browning adds a deep brown colour to the meat.

How To Make Jamaican Oxtail Stew with Butter Beans

Step One: Place 2 kg cleaned trimmed oxtail in a large mixing bowl (see the “Tips…” section below on how to clean the meat). Add 75 g brown sugar, 1.5 tbsp soy sauce, 1.5 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 tbsp salt, 3 tsp garlic powder, 1.5 tsp ground black pepper, 1 tsp all spice and 1.5 tsp browning and mix well. You can use tongs to mix the meat, but I prefer to put on some food safe disposable gloves and work the seasoning into the meat by hand. Leave to marinade for around 20-30 minutes whilst you prepare the remaining vegetables for the dish.

Step Two: In a frying pan or deep casserole dish heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil on a high heat. Brown the seasoned oxtails for 2-3 minutes on each side. Do not over crowd the pan. Brown in batches if necessary.

Step Three: If using a casserole dish, remove some of the oil and any burnt parts from the dish first, otherwise in a large sauce pan add 1 tbsp vegetable oil and heat on a medium heat. Add 2 chopped medium onions and fry for around 5 minutes until they have softened.

Step Four: Add in 5 cloves of minced garlic, 6 stalks of finely chopped spring onions, 3 carrots sliced, 4 pimento berries, 1.5 tsp scotch bonnet pepper sauce, 1.5 tbsp ketchup, 3 sprigs fresh thyme, 3 crushed cubes of reduced salt Beef Oxo, 350 ml water and the browned oxtails. Mix together and bring to a simmer.

Step Five: Simmer with the lid on for 3 – 3.5 hours until the meat is soft enough for your liking – I like my meat super soft and almost falling off the bone. Check the pot every 20-30 minutes to ensure that the pot hasn’t dried out. And turn the meat over after the first 90 minutes.

Step Six: Once the meat is soft add in two 400 g cans of drained tinned butter beans and stir. Cook for a further 10 minutes.

How To Serve Jamaican Oxtail Stew with Butter Beans

Tips for Making Jamaican Oxtail Stew with Butter Beans

  • Clean the oxtail with water and vinegar rinse (this is a traditional Caribbean way of cleaning meat). To do this add the oxtail to a large mixing bowl. Fill the bowl with cold water to rinse the meat. Add around 100 ml white vinegar to the meat and top the bowl up with water so that the meat is submerged. Set aside for around 5 minutes before pouring out the water.
  • Do not skip browning the meat. It really adds flavour to the dish. Traditionally a cast iron dutch pan is used for the browning and the stewing, but you could also use a good quality deep casserole dish. Just remove some of the oil and any brown/black residue (“fond”) at the bottom of the pan after the browning process.
  • During the stewing process be sure to check your pot every 20-30 minutes to ensure that it hasn’t dried out.
  • Turn the meat over after the first hour and a half of the stewing process to ensure even cooking.

Jamaican Oxtail Stew with Butter Beans Recipe


Serves:
8
Preparation Time:
25 minutes
Cooking Time:
3 hrs 40 mins

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 kg oxtails (the fat should be trimmed off and they should be rinsed in water and white vinegar – see the “Tips…” section above)
  • 75 g brown sugar
  • 1.5 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 3 tsp garlic powder
  • 1.5 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp all spice
  • 1.5 tsp browning (I use Sarson’s)
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil (divided)
  • 2 medium onions chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 6 spring onion stalks finely chopped
  • 3 carrots sliced
  • 4 pimento berries (I use Dunn’s River)
  • 1.5 tsp scotch bonnet pepper sauce (I use Walkerswood)
  • 1.5 tbsp ketchup
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 reduced salt beef Oxo cubes (crushed)
  • 350 ml water

METHOD

  1. Add the oxtails to a large mixing bowl and add in the sugar, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, garlic powder, black pepper, all spice and browning and mix together. Leave to sit for around 20 minutes while you prepare the rest of the vegetables.
  2. Add 2 tbsp of the oil to a non-stick frying pan or deep casserole dish and heat over a high heat. Brown the oxtails in batches for around 2 – 3 minutes on each of the sides. Do not over crowd the pan. Set the browned oxtails aside.
  3. If using a casserole dish, remove some of the oil and any burnt parts from the dish first, otherwise in a large sauce pan heat the remaining 1 tbsp oil over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook for around 5 minutes until they have softened.
  4. Add in the garlic, spring onion, carrots, pimento berries, pepper sauce, ketchup, thyme, Oxo cubes, water and the browned oxtails. Stir well and bring to a simmer.
  5. Cover and leave to stew for 3 to 3.5 hours. Check the pot every 20 – 30 minutes to ensure it hasn’t dried up, and turn the meat after the first 90 minutes.
  6. Once the meat is as tender as you like it add in the butter beans and cook for a further 10 minutes.

NOTES

Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken

Brown Stew Chicken is an inherent Jamaican classic. In this dish, seasoned chicken is first browned for flavour before being added to sautéed onions and garlic, and being stewed with carrots and sweet peppers. The flavour quartet of pimento berries, thyme, spring onion and scotch bonnet pepper, so quintessential of Jamaican cuisine, is what sets this dish apart from other chicken stews.

This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission on any purchases made via these links at no additional cost to you. You can read my full disclaimer here.


NEVER MISS A RECIPE!

Subscribe to receive email updates:


Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken Recipe

Serves: 4-6
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Marinating Time: 3 hours to overnight
Cooking Time: 25 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 kg skinless chicken portions (legs or thighs or a mix of the two)
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp all purpose seasoning
  • 1 tbsp chicken seasoning
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 0.5 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme roughly chopped
  • 5 tbsp light olive oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 3 spring onions chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 sweet pepper deseeded and sliced
  • 2 carrots peeled and sliced
  • 1 tsp scotch bonnet pepper sauce
  • 3 pimento berries
  • 300 ml water
  • 1 tbsp butter

METHOD

  1. Place the chicken portions in a large bowl. Add the garlic powder, all purpose seasoning, chicken seasoning, salt, pepper and thyme and mix well. Cover with clingfilm and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 3 hours, but overnight would be better.
  2. Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large heavy bottomed frying pan using a high heat. Scrape the thyme from the chicken portions, but put the thyme aside for later. Fry the chicken in batches for around 3 minutes on each side until they are a nice deep brown colour. Place the browned off pieces in a plate and set aside whilst you brown of the next batch. I use my trusty 28 cm Anolon Sauté Pan for this as it has a big enough area to brown the chicken in larger batches and it is also deep enough to hold the gravy that this dish will produce. Click here for more details on the pan.
  3. Once all the chicken has been browned add two tablespoons of olive oil to the pan, don’t worry about any brown crust that has formed on the bottom of the pan from the frying, just scrape this and mix it into the oil. On a medium heat sauté the onions and spring onions until they are translucent.
  4. Add the garlic, sweet peppers, carrots, scotch bonnet sauce, pimento berries and thyme from the marinade and stir well before adding the chicken back to the pan.
  5. Add the water and the butter. Cover the pan and simmer for 25 minutes until the gravy has reduced.

NOTES

Jamaican Coconut Pumpkin Rice

Coconut Pumpkin Rice is a hearty side dish is often served with Jamaican main dishes such as brown stew chicken, curry or even steamed fish. However, it also goes well with non-Jamaican dishes such as steak or fried chicken. In this dish the pumpkin is first mixed with sautéed onions and garlic. Thyme and spring onion are then added to the mix – this thyme and spring onion combination is quite synonymous of Jamaican cuisine. The mixture is then stewed in coconut milk until the pumpkin is tender, before being mashed. Finally rice is added which is cooked in the remaining liquid. The result is a fluffy orange rice, which has a little sweetness due to the pumpkin and the coconut milk, but is also savoury at the same time due to the thyme and spring onion. The flavour is absolutely superb!

This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission on any purchases made via these links at no additional cost to you. You can read my full disclaimer here.

Now, this is an easy dish to prepare, but in the final stage getting the correct amount of liquid for the rice to cook can be a little tricky. So just be a vigilant here as you don’t want the rice to be soggy, or on the flip side, burnt. The idea is to cook the rice until the liquid is absorbed. Resist the urge to stir at this point!


NEVER MISS A RECIPE!

Subscribe to receive email updates:


Jamaican Coconut Pumpkin Rice Recipe

Serves: 4

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 35 – 40 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • half a medium onion finely chopped
  • 2 spring onions – finely chop the white part and cut the green stalks in half
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 230 g pumpkin diced into approximately 1 cm cubes
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 200 ml coconut milk, about half a can (I use Dunn’s River Coconut Milk)
  • 195 g basmati rice rinsed well (I use Tilda Pure Basmati Rice)
  • salt to taste

METHOD

  1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan and on a medium heat sauté the onions and the white part of the spring onion until soft.
  2. Add the garlic, pumpkin, thyme, ground black pepper and the spring onion stalks and mix well.
  3. Add the coconut milk and simmer gently with the lid on for around 20 – 25 minutes until the pumpkin is soft.
  4. Remove from the hob and remove the spring onion stalks and the thyme sprigs. Use a potato masher to mash the pumpkin in the coconut milk.
  5. Add the rice and stir. The coconut milk should completely cover the rice, if not then add a little water such that the level of the liquid is about 1 cm above the level of the rice.
  6. Return to the heat, bring to a gentle simmer. Put the lid on the saucepan and cook for 10 minutes until the rice is cooked. Try not to stir it until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender. If you get to a point where you feel the rice is cooked but there is still too much liquid then remove the lid.
  7. Season with salt to taste.

NOTES

  • You can substitute the pumpkin for butternut squash if pumpkin is not in season.