Is there anything more comforting than something that has been braised slow and low? The way flavors meld and combine and meat breaks down and becomes tender is always magic. These Braised Oxtails with Prunes are the perfect lazy Sunday comfort food.
Living in Florida, I don't get the chance to make stews very often. However at the first whisper of cooler weather this is one of my favorite things to make. I love the anticipation as the vegetables simmer in all of the drippings of the oxtails and the smell of red wine perfumes the air.
Braises and stews are the perfect weekend dish. I love being able to start something on the stove and transfer it to the oven while I enjoy the rest of my day. Braised Oxtails with Prunes is the ideal Sunday dinner.
When it comes to braising, I love to use my Dutch oven. The enameled heavy cast iron evenly conducts heat allowing for that perfect sear while holding the temperature making it ideal for transferring to the oven. It truly is one of my most used kitchen staples.
This dish is all about the balance of rich meat, earthy vegetables, savory aromatics, and the sweet pop of prunes all gently simmered in wine. The tough oxtails are transformed into beautiful tender shreds of beef.
My favorite part of this dish is deciding what to serve it with. It's luxuriously comforting over creamy polenta or pillowy potatoes, but equally as delicious over cauliflower rice or mashed cauliflower for those watching the carbs.
Low and Slow with Braised Oxtails with Prunes
With just a few simple steps you will be on your way to serving your family a dish that feels like a hug. The best part of this recipe is that the oven does more of the work for you. I'll walk you through the process and give you a few helpful tips.
- Make sure your oxtails are dry before seasoning them with salt and pepper and dredging them in flour. This will allow them to sear better.
- Preheat your Dutch oven and olive oil before adding your oxtails. You want to sear the meat and build that first layer of flavor with the crust.
- Add your leks, carrots, and celery to the pan, making sure to scrape up all of the bits left on the bottom from the oxtails. This is called the fond and it adds a depth of flavor.
- Add your garlic and tomato paste. You want to cook the tomato paste until it darkens in color.
- Add the meat back into the post along with your fresh herbs, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, wine, and water.
- Make sure you pick a wine that you enjoy. As the wine and sauce reduces the flavors will become more concentrated.
- Cover your oxtails and place the Dutch oven into a preheated 300 degree oven. The meat and vegetables will become tender.
- Add your prunes in the last half hour of cooking. This will allow them to soften and their flavors to meld while also retaining some of their texture.
- Pick your favorite side...mashed potatoes, creamy polenta, and cauliflower rice are all great options.
If you're looking for more recipes to use your Dutch oven, make sure to check out my recipe for Decadent Beef Shank Osso Bucco.
Braised Oxtails with Prunes
- dutch oven
- 2-3 lbs oxtails
- ½ cup flour
- salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2-3 carrots, chopped
- 2-3 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 leeks, chopped
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- ½ bottle red wine dry
- 1 cup water
- fresh thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves
- 1 cup prunes, pitted
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Pat the oxtails dry and season both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge through flour, shaking off the excess.
- Heat your Dutch oven over medium heat with olive oil.
- Add the oxtails to the heated pan, allowing to brown and sear, 2-3 minutes per side. Remove and set aside.
- Add the leeks, carrots, and celery to the pan and sauté for 5 minutes, continually stirring.
- Add the garlic and tomato paste. Continue to stir, allowing the tomato paste to deepen in color, 2-3 minutes.
- Add the oxtails back into the pan along with any drippings on the plate. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the wine and water into the Dutch oven along with the Worcestershire and fresh herbs. Stir to combine and cover.
- Transfer to the oven and cook for 1 hour until the meat and vegetables are tender.
- In the last half hour of cooking add the prunes, stirring to combine.
- Remove the bay leaves and herb stems. Enjoy!