A good oxtail starts with good quality meat so you are in the right place!
We have made hundreds of oxtail potjies over the years and none exactly the same. However, we have migrated towards the following recipe which really accentuates the flavours of the meat.
Serves 3 People
1 kg oxtail
1 large onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 stick celery sliced
4 sun-dried tomatoes cut into quarters
1 large carrot sliced into chunks
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup white wine
Handful fresh thyme (or use 1 Tbs dried thyme or mixed herbs)
1 bay leaf
1 cube beef stock
1/2 tsp sugar
8-10 baby potatoes
Salt and lots of black pepper to taste.
Heat 2 tbs of olive oil at high heat in the potjie and brown the oxtail. Remove and set aside. You may need to do it in 2 batches.
Add the onion and fry until translucent.
Add the garlic, carrots and celery. Fry briefly for about 1 minute. Don't burn the garlic.
Add the wine and allow the alcohol to evaporate (boil for 5 mins).
Add the tomatoes, herbs, bay leaves, stock, sugar.
Add the salt to taste and black pepper.
Cook for 5 mins.
Add the browned meat and stir.
Add a little water until the level is just below the top of the meat pieces. Ideally, the meat pieces should be exposed to air to allow for caramelisation to take place.
Get to the boiling point, then remove most coals and simmer very gently. The cooking time should be 3hrs to 4hrs. Check the meat tenderness every now and then, as well as the water level. When checking, turn the meat pieces over to allow the other side to caramelise. Do not over stir.
About an hour before its ready (starting to soften), add the potatoes. Feel free to add other vegetables towards the end, such as green beans, diced butternut, courgettes, peas, etc.
The meat should be easy to pull off the bone, but not have fallen off the bone.
Serve with rice or mashed potato. To really lift the meal, try sprinkling some "gremolata" on top when serving - a mixture of chopped fresh parsley, fresh garlic and grated lemon rind.