Oxtail with lentils

Oxtail with lentils

Coda di bue con lenticchie

Sharing Puglia
Alicia Taylor

Oxtail is not often eaten in Puglia but we really wanted to include this recipe because it is the perfect dish to eat on cold winter nights. This recipe has been cooked several times at my restaurant, Cafe Latte, by our head chef Giuseppe Strippoli, who cooks it just like his mother did before him back in Puglia.


Quantity Ingredient
1.3kg oxtail, cut into 5–10 cm pieces
1 litre dry red wine
1 large brown onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 small red chilli, chopped
2 celery stalks, diced
4 bay leaves
400ml olive oil
1 bouquet garni, made with 1 sprig each rosemary, thyme and oregano and a sage leaf tied together with kitchen twine
plain flour, for dredging
750ml beef stock
rosemary sprigs, to garnish


Quantity Ingredient
400g dried brown lentils
60ml olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 eschalot, chopped
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 large vine-ripened tomato, quartered
flat-leaf parsley sprigs
1 litre vegetable stock, at room temperature


  1. The day before you cook the dish, marinate the oxtail pieces in the red wine and place in the refrigerator.
  2. For the oxtail, in a large saucepan, sauté the onion, carrot, garlic, chilli, celery and bay leaves in half the olive oil over medium heat for about 7 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened. Add the bouquet garni and shallow-fry for a further 5 minutes, until the ingredients are infused with the herbs.
  3. Remove the bouquet garni from the pan and set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, remove the oxtail from the marinade, reserving 500 ml of the wine. Pat the oxtail dry with paper towel and dredge it in the flour.
  5. In a large heavy-based saucepan heat the remaining olive oil over high heat for 3 minutes. Fry the oxtail pieces (in batches if the saucepan is not large enough) on both sides for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. (This process might take longer if the oxtail pieces are larger and you may also need more olive oil for frying.) Season liberally with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  6. Using tongs, transfer the meat to the vegetable pan. Increase the heat to high and pour in the reserved red wine from the marinade for deglazing. When all the alcohol has evaporated, after about 5–10 minutes, cover with beef stock and return the bouquet garni to the pan.
  7. Reduce the heat to low and cook the oxtail, covered, for about 2 hours. After this time, prod the meat with a fork to see if the meat easily comes off the bone. If so, the dish is ready. If not, Meanwhile, to cook the lentils, rinse them thoroughly under cold, running water.
  8. Pour the olive oil into a medium saucepan over medium–low heat, and add the lentils, bay leaves, eschalot, carrot, celery, garlic, tomato and parsley, stirring to combine.
  9. Pour in enough of the stock to cover the lentils by 3–5 cm. Bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to low and cook for another 10 minutes with the lid off. (Remember, this is not a soupy dish and does not require a lot of liquid.)
  10. Place the lentils in a large serving dish and place the braised oxtail on top. Garnish with rosemary sprigs and buon appetito!
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