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Umngqusho Ne Nyama Ebomvu (Braised Oxtail With Parmesan Maize Rice)

A beautifully rich bowl of pull-apart comfort food. Extract from Harvest Table (Quivertree Publications).

Credit: Extract from Harvest Table (Quivertree Publications)

Umngqusho Ne Nyama Ebomvu (Braised Oxtail With Parmesan Maize Rice)

Serves 4–6

For the braised oxtail
  • 1.5–2 kg oxtail, cut into sections

  • salt and black pepper, to taste

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 200 g (approx. 1 large) onion, chopped

  • 200 g (approx. 2) carrots, peeled and sliced

  • 200 g (approx. 3 sticks) celery, sliced

  • 2 tbsp tomato paste

  • 1 head garlic, halved

  • 750 ml red wine

  • 2 sprigs rosemary

  • 3 bay leaves

For the ragù
  • 200 g (approx. 1) onion, chopped

  • 200 g (approx. 2) carrots, peeled and chopped

  • 200 g (approx. 3 sticks) celery, chopped

  • 5 g Italian parsley, chopped

  • 3 tbsp olive oil

  • 2 tbsp tomato paste

  • 190 ml beef stock

  • 1 x 400 g can peeled tomatoes

For the maize rice
  • 500 ml vegetable stock

  • 225 g maize rice, soaked overnight

  • 1 tbsp butter

  • 2 tbsp Italian parsley, chopped

  • Parmesan, grated


  1. Season the oxtail with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof saucepan or casserole over a high heat. Brown the oxtail on all sides, working in batches in a single layer. When properly browned, drain the fat and set aside.

  2. Add the chopped vegetables to the casserole and reduce the heat to medium. Brown the vegetables for a few minutes, then add the tomato paste and cook for a few more minutes.

  3. Return the oxtail to the saucepan, add the garlic and wine and bring to a boil. (If the wine does not cover the meat, top up with water or beef stock.) Add the rosemary and bay leaves.

  4. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover and cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is fall-apart tender.

  5. Remove the oxtail from the liquid and allow to cool. When cool, pick the meat off half of the bones and keep the rest intact. Strain the cooking liquid and allow it to separate. Remove the fat that rises to the top and keep the clear liquid for the ragù.

  6. To make the ragù, finely chop all the vegetables and herbs in a food processor. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the vegetables and sauté until soft.

  7. Add the tomato paste, then the stock to deglaze the pan. Cook until the liquid has reduced and the vegetables have almost dissolved.

  8. Add the tomatoes and break up using a fork or potato masher. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add the oxtail braising liquid and bring to a simmer.

  9. Add the shredded and whole pieces of oxtail to the vegetables. Cook for 15 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced to a slightly syrupy consistency.

  10. To make the maize rice, bring the stock to a boil in a saucepan. Using a whisk, mix the maize rice into the boiling stock. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 40 minutes, or until soft and cooked through.

  11. Turn off the heat and stir through the butter and parsley. Stir in the oxtail ragù, or serve it separately with the maize rice. Serve with Parmesan.

  • You can substitute the maize rice with samp or arborio rice.

Extract from Harvest Table (Quivertree Publications).



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