Oxtail Stew and Beluga Lentils Recipe

(9 ratings)

Oxtail stew and beluga lentils photo


For the stew:

  • 3 lb (1.5 kg) oxtail, in big chunks (ask your butcher to cut it)
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 or 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 carrots, cubed
  • 2 stalks celery, cubed
  • 2 (28-oz / 800-g) cans whole peeled tomatoes
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1¼ cups (300 ml) red wine
  • about 2¼ cups (500 ml) beef broth
  • 1⅓ cups (200 g) beluga or Puy lentils
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional)

For the polenta:

  • 2 cups (300 g) polenta
  • salt
  • ½ cup plus 2 tbsp (150 g) butter
  • freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C/Gas 2)

  2. Rinse the oxtail and pat it dry with paper towels. Trim away as much fat as possible. Put the oxtail in a bowl and sprinkle with flour, salt, and pepper. Toss briefly so that all chunks are coated

  3. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large ovenproof skillet. Brown the oxtail over medium heat. You may have to do it in 2 or 3 batches, depending on the size of your pan

  4. Add the onions, garlic, carrots, and celery. Saute for about 10 minutes on low heat and add the tomatoes, thyme, and bay leaves

  5. Return any extra oxtail pieces to the pan and add the wine and enough broth to cover the oxtail. Season with salt and pepper

  6. Bring to a boil, cover, and place the pan in the oven. Bake for 3 hours, stirring after 1½ hours. After 2 ½ hours, add the lentils and stir well. After 3 hours, the meat should fall of the bones and the sauce should be thick

  7. Scoop the meat out of the sauce and let cool. With a big spoon, skim as much fat as possible off the surface of the sauce. Pull the meat off the bones and add it to the sauce

  8. Make the polenta: Bring 4 ½ cups (1 l) generously salted water to a boil in a large saucepan

  9. When the water boils, add the polenta in a thin trickle, stirring constantly with a whisk

  10. Keep stirring until the polenta thickens. Lower the heat and let the polenta simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Be careful, as polenta can splatter

  11. Stir in the butter, season with pepper, and divide the polenta among 4 plates

  12. Ladle the oxtail stew on top. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, if desired