Instant Pot Jamaican Oxtail Stew – Pressure Luck Cooking
Bull’s tail. The word alone is curious. Probably mostly because it’s not like we normally eat tail (skin removed, of course). But when I first tried it, I immediately realized that this cut of meat is among the best of the best. We’re talking about joining the ranks of short ribs and osso buco (if you like that kind of thing). The oxtail is succulent, tender and falls from bone perfection.
And when you cook it in a sweet, salty sauce with just the right amount of spices, you have the best Jamaican oxtail stew you’ve ever devoured. But fear not, although this dish is known to have a Scottish bonnet or habanero chili, it’s not THAT spicy once cooked and is also totally optional if you want to keep things on the soft side. And while this is called a “stew,” it’s not actually meant to be eaten as a soup. It’s more of a premium meat dish with a rich, flavorful sauce meant to cover oxtail and rice.
The Instant Pot changes the game with this one, folks.
That’s how I did it! (scroll to the bottom to see the recipe fully written):
Start with a Spanish (or yellow) onion
… and dice it.
Take a bunch of scallions
… and slice them.
Now steal some borrowed carrots from Bugs Bunny’s garden
… and cut them into discs.
And comes the only ingredient that gives the Jamaican touch to this dish: our pepper! Let’s wear a Scottish cap OR habanero OR Jamaican hot pepper here (same pepper, different names). And any color will do, since they are actually all the same. Now, don’t be fooled by this little little pepper. It may be small, but the level of spices is POWERFUL.
Cut the top and then cut the pepper
in the center
Remove the seeds and ribs (the white part) from the inside of the pepper. You can use your hands to do this, but you absolutely MUST wash your hands afterwards. If you don’t and touch your face or, worse, your eyes, be prepared for some MAJOR discomfort. Therefore, it may be wise to put some olive oil on your fingers before touching the pepper, as that helps repel the spice. Or, better yet, wear latex gloves if you have them. If not, dish soap will do, just be sure to wash your hands!
So, dice that
Alternatively, if you want a milder pepper experience, upload a jalapeno instead. Or don’t use one at all! The choice is yours.
Okay, now let’s focus on our spices. Kosher salt, onion powder, garlic powder, allspice, dried thyme, paprika and curry powder.
And also some brown sugar (either light or dark)
… and mix them.
And now, for the star of the show: EL RABO DE TORO!
Take each piece and dredge/cover it in the spice mixture
… and set aside on a plate.
Now, go to the instant pot and add some vegetable oil
… and butter.
Give it some warmth and once the butter melts
… in lots, and in the oxtail.
Sear for about a minute
… And then turn it over so that the other side gets some love.
When you finish burning, remove to a plate.
Do you see all that remaining oil and grease in the pot with something maybe a little stuck to the pot? It’s time for a magic trick.
Add some Worcestershire sauce (Wuh-stuh-sheer)
… And then use a mixing spoon/spatula to deglaze/scrape the bottom of the pot. All the golden pieces of seasonings will come out!
Now, add the onion, scallions, carrots and pepper
… and sauté in the oils/sauce.
After a few minutes, add some soy sauce
… and keep skipping.
Then, add some garlic
… and skip for a moment more.
Now it’s time to add some beef broth
… Ketchup (yes, ketchup is required here. Trust me)…
… and stir.
Add the scorched oxtail to the pot (
it’s okay to place it on top of each other), secure the lid and cook
When you’re ready, you’ll look like this (note how much extra broth is in the pot after pressure cooking, that’s all about the amazing juices of the meat and oxtail bones
Use tweezers to carefully remove the super tender oxtail to a serving plate.
Now, let’s focus on turning broth and drops into an amazing sauce!
Create a cornstarch suspension by mixing equal parts cornstarch and water
… bring the pot to a boil…
… Add the grout…
Stir and kill the heat. It will thicken in the perfect sauce!
Now, for some finishing touches. Add some tomato paste…
… and a gilding agent like Gravy Master or Kitchen Bouquet.
Stir everything well until the tomato paste mixes with the sauce
finally, take a can of butter beans and rinse and drain
… and add to the pot! Give everything a final stir.
Generously pour the sauce all over the stew
Now it’s time to admire the masterpiece you just created.
Put your fork in your mouth
… And this should be the right reaction.
Do you see that meat?! Just LOOK at the tender, juicy and fallen
In fact, forget forks! Bring that bone-sucking goodness straight to your mouth using your fingers…
And encourage everyone to leave their manners at the door!
It’s THAT good, kids! Pour it over rice too and be sure to pour more of that amazing sauce over it!