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Oxtail with Herb Dumplings

Serves: 4


1.3kg/3lb oxtail pieces
30ml/2tbsp plain flour mixed with 10ml/2tsp English mustard powder
Salt and freshly milled black pepper
30ml/2tbsp sunflower oil
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
600ml/1pint stout or brown ale
300ml/1/2pint water
Grated zest of 1 orange
2 bay leaves
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
2 medium parsnips, peeled and roughly cubed
2 sticks celery, chopped

175g/6oz self-raising flour
75g/3oz butter, cubed
30ml/2tbsp freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
* 45-60ml/3-4tbsp cold water


1. Preheat the oven to Gas mark 3, 170oC, 325oF,
2. Mix the flour and mustard in a large bowl. Season. Toss the oxtail pieces in the seasoned flour. Heat the oil in a large pan and brown the oxtail for 4-5 minutes. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes.
3. Transfer to a large ovenproof casserole dish and add the remaining ingredients except the parsnips and celery. Bring to the boil, cover and transfer to a preheated oven and cook for 3-31/2 hours.
4. Prepare the dumplings: place the flour, salt and butter in a large bowl, rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips and add the herbs. Stir in enough water to form a smooth dough and shape into 8 evenly-sized dumplings. Cover and set aside.
5. 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time, add the parsnips and celery. 20 minutes before the end of cooking, remove the stew from the oven, add the dumplings and return to the oven uncovered.
6. Serve with Savoy cabbage.


Any remaining stew tastes even better the next day. Remove from the fridge and heat slowly at the same oven temperature for about 1 hour until piping hot.