Oxtail Stew – How it is done Caribbean Style in Tulsa

By on November 8, 2017

by Eben Shillingford, owner/chef of Sisserou’s Caribbean Restaurant

Growing up with my sister, Ilana, (now my business partner at Sisserou’s) food was always a big deal throughout our childhood. There were some dishes we didn’t quite care for but were required to eat every last bite, a familiar story for most children (sorry mom!). On the other hand, there were dishes that we loved and always craved as far back as we can remember. The number one dish on that list was (and still is) our mom’s oxtail stew. Oxtail stew became the number one requested and fought after meal for birthdays, for example.

It’s interesting that something originating as a “poor man’s” dish has graduated over time into a delicacy and an expensive food item to procure. Oxtail is exactly what its name suggests, the tail of a cow, and produces the most succulent tender texture when properly prepared.

The origins are a bit unclear, but one version that lends to how it became popular in the Caribbean is that during slavery, the slaves were given the unfavorable cuts of meat that were typically ignored by their masters (such as oxtail, hamhocks, pig’s feet, etc.) and thus had to make do by creating recipes that would work for these “throwaway” pieces.

These recipes were passed down within families from generation to generation and are now enjoyed all over the world. In our household, our mom would cook the stew in a large pot or pressure cooker on the stove top, then add celery, potatoes, and carrots towards the latter part of the cooking process.

At Sisserou’s, my recipe is a variation of our mom’s that includes a more intensive process of braising. First we take the oxtail and coat or brown it with burnt sugar, then we continue braising the oxtail by placing in the oven for a total of 9 hours. The beef produces a stock that we reserve which allows the dish to be cooked to order by adding the individually portioned stock and the essential par boiled vegetables of baby carrots and potatoes to a generous portion of oxtail. Once plated, the result is a high concentration of rich flavors and amazingly tender beef.
Even as children we knew this dish was special and now it is exciting to see it as one of the top ordered dishes on the Sisserou’s menu here in Tulsa. I hope this inspires you to give it a try either in your own kitchen or the next time you’re at Sisserou’s for a meal!


**If you liked this article by Chef Eben you will enjoy this on Jerk Chicken!


Sisserou’s Caribbean Restaurant 
Archer and Main

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