Oxtail Stew: South African Oxtail Potjiekos

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Potjiekos is a traditional South African dish made with game meat. This version, the oxtail stew or oxtail potjie is hearty and filling. The perfect winter comfort dish!


South African’s love their meat, so if you are ever wondering what to cook, you know it’s going to be something meaty. The Oxtail Potjiekos is one of our family favorites for a Sunday brunch or lunch other than the Braai or bobotie, of course! And there’s always enough of this beef dish leftover for dinner. This oxtail stew recipe is both yummy and saucy.

The Oxtail Potjie is like a stew but has a slightly different cooking method. With a regular stew, you have to stir it every once in a while, but as for this potjie you just leave it to cook for a few hours, no stirring necessary.

If you are wondering what a Potjie is, it is a traditional South African vessel in which food is cooked, basically a round cast iron 3-legged pot, that’s actually descended from the Dutch oven. And a Potjiekos is a traditional South African stew that literally means ‘small-pot-food’, which is slow-cooked in a cast iron pot over an open flame. Although nowadays, we use regular vessels, that’s how the name ‘potjie’ caught on.

What Ingredients Do You Need To Make Oxtail Stew?

To make this Saucy Oxtail stew recipe, all you need is onions, oil, flour, salt and pepper, oxtail, white wine vinegar, brown sugar, carrots, potatoes, and oxtail soup powder.

How To Make Oxtail Stew?

Place the pieces of Oxtail into the bag with flour that has been seasoned with salt and pepper.

Put oxtail pieces in individual plastic bags.
Oxtail
Cut Oxtail pieces in bag.
Oxtail pieces in bag

Close the bag with one hand and shake the pieces of oxtail in the bag until they are coated well with the flour mixture.

Individually put oxtail in a bag with flour, salt and pepper.
Oxtail in a bag with flour, salt and pepper
Shake the bag until it gets evenly marinated.
Close the bag and shake till covered in flour

Place the flour coated oxtail into a preheated frying pan with a bit of oil until browned.

Fry the marinated oxtails in oil till it turns brown.
Fry the oxtail in a pan with oil till browned

After all the oxtail pieces have been fried, place them into a saucepan and then fry the onions in the same frying pan until brown. You will get a little more oil from the oxtail as some pieces can be quite fatty.

Fry slit onion in the same pan as fried oxtails.
Move the oxtail to saucepan and fry the onions

Place the onions with the oxtail in the sauce pan.  Cover with water and simmer for a few hours until the meat is soft.

Let it cook for some time and add fried onion to it.
Simmer for a few hours

Clean the carrots and potatoes. Chop them into chunks and keep them ready to add in the saucepan with the oxtail.

Put peeled and cleaned carrots and potatoes in water.
Clean the carrots and potatoes

Some pieces of the oxtail can be fatty. Separate the oil from the oxtail before adding the rest of the ingredients.

.
Separate the oil remove from the cooked oxtail.
Remove the oil from the cooked oxtail

Add the vinegar, sugar, vegetables, and Oxtail soup powder and cook until the vegetables are soft.

Add the vinegar, sugar, vegetables and Oxtail soup powder.
Add the vinegar, sugar, vegetables and Oxtail soup powder
Boil the Oxtail Stew.
Oxtail Stew

And your Oxtail Potjie is ready to be eaten. You can garnish it with parsley. Serve with white rice and enjoy this yummy stew.

Add potato and carrot to the gravy and serve it with rice.
Serve with rice
Oxtail gravy with rice is ready.
Oxtail is ready!
Tasty South African Oxtail Stew is served.
Tasty South African Oxtail Stew

What’s Perfect About This Recipe?

  • This is a wholesome hearty meal for a cold winter’s day. Potjiekos is the perfect comfort food!
  • The flavour is mouth-watering as the bony pieces are full of gelatin and iron-rich marrow.
  • You do not need to add much oil while cooking as the tail meat pieces are quite fatty.

Cooking Tips And Tricks

  • If you do not have Oxtail soup powder, you can replace it with beef broth or beef soup.
  • If you want more veggies, add in some chopped cauliflower or pumpkin pieces.
  • You could cook the stew a day in advance and chill the dish overnight, this way you can scrape off the fat from the top the next day before heating it.
  • You can add some red wine to enhance the flavour.

FAQ’s About Oxtail Stew

Why is Oxtail so expensive?

Oxtail is expensive because although you get about 350 kg of meat from one cow, the tail is only about 2.5 kg of that meat, and so it’s quite scarce.

How long can you refrigerate Oxtail?

You can have refrigerated leftover oxtail for about 3-4 days after cooking. If you want to store it longer, you can keep it in an air-tight container in the freezer for a few months.

Why are my Oxtails tough?

The Oxtail is probably tough because it has not been heated enough. As it is bony pieces of meat, they need a lot of time slow cooking in a hot and moist pot, generally about 2.5 to 3 hrs.

Is Oxtail stew good for health?

Oxtail is a source of iron and protein and the stew also contains vegetables which makes it a healthy dish. Please check with your nutritionist for specific details.

How do you pronounce Potjiekos?

Potjiekos is pronounced as poy-key-kos or poi-key-kos.

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Oxtail gravy with rice is ready.

Oxtail Stew: South African Oxtail Potjiekos

The Soz
Potjiekos is a traditional South African dish made with game meat. This version, the oxtail stew or oxtail potjie is hearty and filling. The perfect comfort dish!
5 out of 5 Stars by 2 readers!

Click the stars to add your rating!

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 45 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine South African
Servings 4 Servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2 Onions Cut into rings
  • 4 tbsp Oil
  • 20 gms Flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 2 kg Oxtail Cut into about 5 cm long pieces (width will differ)
  • 60 ml White Wine Vinegar
  • 60 gms Brown Sugar
  • 5 Carrots Cleaned and cut into large chunks
  • 4 Potatoes Cleaned and cut into quarters
  • 1 pkt Oxtail soup powder Can use beef broth or beef soup instead

Instructions
 

  • In a bag, mix some powdered salt and pepper with flour.
  • Place the pieces of oxtail into this bag of seasoned flour and give it a good shake to make sure the pieces are coated well.
  • Place the flour covered oxtail into a preheated frying pan with oil.
  • Turn the oxtail pieces until all sides are browned. Place these pieces into a large saucepan and keep them aside.
  • Put the cut onions in the same pan and fry them until brown.
  • In the saucepan cover the oxtail with water and bring to boil.
  • Add the fried onions to the oxtail and simmer for 2 hours or until the meat is soft.
  • Add the vinegar and sugar to the saucepan. Also add the cut carrots, potatoes, and the soup powder into the saucepan. Cook for another 15 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
  • Garnish with parsely and serve with rice.

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Notes

  • If you do not have Oxtail soup powder, you can replace it with beef broth or soup.
  • You could cook the stew a day in advance and chill the dish overnight, this way you can scrape off the fat from the top the next day before heating it.
  • You can also add some red wine to enhance the flavour.
Pinterest images of Oxtail stew and served with rice.
Pinterest image of Oxtail gravy served with rice.
Pinterest images of fried oxtail, potato, carrot and adding spices to gravy.

4 thoughts on “Oxtail Stew: South African Oxtail Potjiekos”

    • Hi Marc,

      I usually just buy a packet of oxtail soup mix from the supermarket. Not all stock it but you usually find it with all the other dry soup mixes. Hope that helps.

      Reply

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