Oxtail braised with cinnamon and preserved lemon

Oxtail braised with cinnamon and preserved lemon

Mark Roper

Oxtail is a favourite winter dish – all sticky-sweet and richly tender strips of gelatinous meat which, when cooked long enough and slow enough, fall away from their little knuckle of cartilage. A further bonus of this type of dish is that it requires minimal effort on the cook’s part. Once the preparation is done, all you do is pop it in the oven and leave it well alone.


Quantity Ingredient
3kg oxtail, cut into pieces
1 generous tablesp ground ginger
150g plain flour
80ml olive oil
2 large onions, roughly diced
garlic, finely chopped
4 sticks celery, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 Preserved lemons and limes, peel only, diced
8 cloves
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
800g crushed tomatoes
100g pitted green olives
400ml gutsy red wine
2 bay leaves
1/2 orange, peeled
500ml stock or water


  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
  2. Get the butcher to trim any large lumps of fat away from the oxtail for you, and cut it through into nice little sections about 5 cm long.
  3. Mix the ginger into the flour and dust the oxtail pieces.
  4. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based casserole dish and then brown the meat all over. Once coloured, remove the meat pieces from the pan. Add the onions, garlic and celery with the cinnamon, preserved lemon, cloves and paprika. Stir until everything is well mixed. Add the tomatoes, olives and splash in the wine. Tuck in the bay leaves and orange peel and return the oxtail to the tomato base. Pour in enough stock or water to just cover the meat, raise the heat and bring to the boil.
  5. Cover the casserole and put it in the middle of the oven. Leave it for an hour, then remove it from the oven and stir everything around gently. Return it to the oven and cook for a further hour, by which time the meat will be a lovely glossy dark brown, and the sauce will have reduced to a sticky glaze. Serve with a big bowl of garlicky mashed potatoes.
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