Miss Lily’s Oxtail Stew
2 ½ lb
oxtail cut into 1.5-inch pieces
medium white onion, diced
bunch of scallions, chopped, saving the green tops for garnish
cloves garlic, minced
Scotch bonnet peppers, finely chopped
sprigs of thyme
cups beef broth or water
cooked broad beans, rinse if canned
The oxtail stew served at Miss Lily’s restaurants in New York City, Dubai, and Negril is typically Jamaican with a distinctive burned sugar gravy made tangy with allspice, ginger, and flaming Scotch bonnet peppers, while broad beans added at the end give an extra layer of richness to an already unctuous stew. If you ask, most butchers will cut oxtail into smaller pieces, which allow for even cooking and facilitate gnawing every bit of meat off the bone.
- To prepare the oxtail, rinse the pieces in cold water and pat them dry before seasoning liberally with salt and pepper. Place them on a tray and let sit in the fridge for 6–24 hours. Pull the oxtail out of the fridge to come to room temperature 1 hour before you start cooking.
- Caramelize the brown sugar over medium-high heat in a large nonreactive Dutch oven, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon until sugar is evenly dark and seems like it is about to smoke. Immediately add the hot water to the caramel, taking care to avoid splatter.
- Add the seasoned oxtail and turn frequently until well browned on all sides. Remove oxtails back to the tray and add onion, garlic, ginger, Scotch bonnet, thyme, allspice, and chopped scallion to the pot. Cook the aromatics until soft, about 5 minutes, before adding the browned oxtails and any remaining juices back to the pot.
- Add broth or water to just cover the oxtails, then bring to a low boil and cover the pot. Cook at a gentle simmer and stir occasionally, checking for doneness after an hour and 45 minutes, up to 2 hours and 15 minutes. Cook until the meat is tender and squishy on the bone, but not completely falling off.
- If using, gently stir in the cooked broad beans, and let simmer for another 5 minutes. If the sauce is too thin, stir in some flour-and-water slurry, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the gravy is thickened to your liking. Sprinkle the remaining chopped green onion over the top and serve with rice and peas or white rice.