Can you believe 2018 is almost over?! Let’s ring in the new year with some Braised Oxtail and Mashed Potatoes. This recipe takes two classic dishes from my Jamaican and American holiday dinner table and combines them into one fantastic meal. The result? A holiday mash up that’s sure to please!
The end of the year always brings great memories for me because Christmas is my favorite time of year (For those who celebrate, I wish you a belated Merry Christmas!). But my Christmases look pretty different than most people. Growing up, we didn’t have a snow white Christmas. I didn’t have a clue who Santa was (and I’m still a little confused). There were no snowmen, no gingerbread houses, no caroling, and no chestnuts roasting over an open fire. I didn’t know any of this stuff even existed until my family and I moved to America. At first, I was a bit envious of all these Christmas traditions, and I wasn’t able to appreciate all the wonderful traditions my parents and I brought with us from Jamaica. But as I’ve grown older, I’ve started to value the traditions my family and I have created. Things like decorating the tree, making Christmas sorrel and black cake, visiting family, and playing dominoes after eating dinner together as a family are now what define Christmas for me (in addition to celebrating the birth of Jesus of course). Over time, we’ve even melded some of our Jamaican traditions with our newfound American ones to create a Christmas that’s all our own.
A big part of my blended Christmas is food. Each year our Christmas table is filled with Jamaican classics like curried goat, jerk pork, rice and peas, and oxtail. We’ve also added some American favorites to the mix, with turkey and mashed potatoes usually making the cut. In celebration of this mash up, I decided to make this recipe for braised oxtails and mashed potatoes. Literally, the best of both worlds.
So about oxtails. Yes, it is the tail of an ox. But I promise they are delicious! (I break my pescatarian diet once a year just to eat these). I know oxtail isn’t a common meat and is likely something you’ve never heard of, but part of the fun of this blog is to introduce ingredients you may have never seen or heard of before. I won’t lie, oxtails are NOT a beginner dish. They take a long time to cook and require a lot of love and attention in order to taste delicious. They also require a pressure cooker to properly cook the meat. When done right, they taste like the most tender meat you’ve ever had. Not surprisingly, a lot of fancy restaurants have oxtail on their menus (including recipes using the marrow). I didn’t realize how lucky I had it as a child!
Credit for this recipe goes to my mom, who knowing how much I love them, moved heaven and earth to find high quality oxtails to cook this Christmas. She also made the oxtails featured in this recipe (I missed her cooking too much to take on this one myself!). If you’re up for the challenge and willing to try something different this holiday season, scroll down for my mom’s recipe 🙂
Note: This recipe requires a pressure cooker, as well as some ingredients that may be a little difficult to find. It’s not an easy recipe to get right, but if you make the investment, I guarantee you’ll end up with something special.
- 2 lbs fresh oxtails, cut to 2 in thickness
- 1 can butter beans
- 1 handful dried thyme
- 2 stalks scallion (green onion)
- 5-6 pimento seeds
- 5-6 all spice balls
- 3 tbsp canola oil
- 2 tbsp tomato paste/ ketchup
- 2 cups water
- 1 tbsp browning
- 2 tbsp all purpose seasoning
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 scotch bonnet pepper
- 2 cooking tomatoes
- 6 Russet potatoes (aka Idaho potatoes)
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp milk or heavy cream
- salt and pepper, to taste
- herbs of choice (rosemary, parsley, basil etc), finely chopped
- The night before you plan to cook the oxtails, place them in a container and season with browning, onion powder, all purpose seasoning, sliced onions, pepper, tomatoes, and green onions. Let oxtail marinate in fridge overnight.
- In a large pressure cooker, heat 2 tbsp canola oil over medium high heat. Remove the oxtails from the fridge and separate the oxtails and the seasoning. Working in batches, add oxtails to the pot and brown on both sides, approximately 3 minutes on each side. Make sure that you do not overcrowd the pot and make sure that the oxtails are evening dispersed in one layer. Remove the oxtails from the pot and place them in a covered dish.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add remaining oil and the reserve seasoning from the marinade. Allowing the seasoning to cook, then add the pimento, all spice and oxtails. Add water and cover the pressure cooker. Follow your pressure cooker’s directions and pressure the oxtails for one hour. The oxtails are done when they are easily pierced with a fork. Note: You don’t want the oxtails to be fall apart tender at this point because they still need some additional cooking.
- Next, remove the pressure cooker cover and add tomato paste/ketchup, sugar (optional), and butter beans (optional), plus remaining seasoning. Bring heat to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cover with a regular pot cover. Simmer the oxtails for 20-30 minutes, until the sauce thickens and the oxtails begin to fall off the bone.
- For the mashed potatoes, peel potatoes and cut in half. Bring about 4-6 cups of water to a boil and after adding salt to the water, add potatoes and boil for 15-16 minutes. Remove from water and transfer cooked potatoes to a large bowl. Add milk, butter, and chopped herbs. Mash potatoes with a potato mash or ricer until potatoes reach desired consistency. Serve immediately.