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Shared by Christina Whittaker

Oxtail Stew with Butter Beans

Yield: 6 servingsTime: 4 hours

Shared by Christina Whittaker

Oxtail stew served in large, glass amber bowl atop white floral tablecloth.
Photographer: Armando Rafael. Food Stylist: Jennifer Ophir. Prop Stylist: Vanessa Vazquez.

Oxtail Stew with Butter Beans

Yield: 6 servingsTime: 4 hours

Family Journey

Old Harbour Bay, JamaicaBronx, NYDavie, Florida
Brooklyn, NY

Oxtail stew is a special occasion dish in Christina Whittaker’s family, whose grandmother Gloria, aunt Lavern, and mom Sophia all make it for holidays. An all-day affair, the stew starts with marinated and seared oxtails, which are then braised with green seasoning, a mixture of scallions, herbs and aromatics, peppers, and butter beans. The stew cooks until the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender. Serve it with rice and peas and fried plantains.

Read more about Christina’s family in “Finding Identity at a Jamaican Shabbat Table” and try her recipes for steamed red snapper with pumpkin and okra, rice and peas and coconut gizzada tartlets


For the oxtail marinade:

  • 5 pounds oxtail 
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 teaspoons browning sauce 
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 sprigs thyme, stripped and leaves chopped finely

For the green seasoning:

  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 3 scallions
  • 2 stalks celery 
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 small onion, peeled
  • 1” piece fresh ginger, peeled
  • 8 sprigs thyme
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper, stalk removed
  • Olive oil, as needed

For the stew:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, medium dice
  • 1 red bell pepper, medium dice
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • ½ - ¾ teaspoons ground allspice 
  • ½ cup green seasoning (see above)
  • 4 scallions, roughly chopped
  • 8-10 cups light beef broth or water
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper
  • 1 ½ cups cooked butter beans
Main CoursesShabbatMeat


  • Step 1

    Add the oxtails to a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine the Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, ketchup, brown sugar, minced ginger, browning sauce, soy sauce, half of the salt, half of the pepper, and the chopped thyme.

  • Step 2

    Mix well, then pour over the oxtails, turning to coat in the marinade and rubbing it in with your hands. Cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or overnight.

  • Step 3

    Make the green seasoning: Add all ingredients to a food processor. Pulse until chopped or pureed, adding olive oil as needed. Remove from the food processor and set aside.

  • Step 4

    Place a large, 6-8 quart pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil to the pot. Once hot, place half the oxtails in the pot and brown for 2 to 3 minutes per side, moving with tongs to prevent burning. Remove the oxtails and repeat with the remaining second batch. Remove all the oxtails from the pot.

  • Step 5

    Add the onions to the pot and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant. Add the diced bell pepper, garlic, onion, and allspice to the pot, stirring to combine and sauteeing for another 2-3 minutes. Add the browned oxtails back to the pot. Top with the green seasoning and the scallions and pour the beef broth over the top. Use a knife to poke one or two holes in the scotch bonnet pepper and add to the pot.

  • Step 6

    Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, and cook on medium-low for 3 ½ to 4 hours, adding the butter beans in the last ½ hour of cooking, until the oxtail meat is fall-off-the-bone tender.

  • Step 7

    Remove from heat. Serve as is, or with rice and peas.