Oxtail Stew and Beluga Lentils Recipe

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serves: 4


  • 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


  • Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C/Gas 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

  • 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

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

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

  • 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

  • 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

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

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

  • 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

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

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

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