Oxtails with Gravy


Yesterday at the Super Duper Market, I saw an enormous, tomato juice sized can of “turkey gravy” made by the Campbell’s soup company.  Well!  I called my husband over and pointed out this travesty of cuisine and all he said was “uh-huh”.  And that’s when I knew, after 38 years of marriage, that his mother probably bought canned gravy for the holidays.  She was no cook, but that’s neither good nor bad, it just is.  Not to embarrass him further, I quickly changed the subject by pointing out the variety of pretty apples and mentioned apple pie 😀


I left my pressure cooker in France because good cooking equipment is more expensive and harder to find in France than in the U.S., so I bought another one just like it for the house here.  While heating up the pressure cooker, I noticed that the pressure button was not rising.  I’m a fraidy cat when it comes to pressure cookers, so I called my husband to see what he thought.

He:  Tap it with a knife

Me:  I’m afraid to tap it with a knife

He:  I’ll tap it.

He tapped it and the button rose immediately, the hat on the steam spout began to rock gently and normal cooking began.  While waiting around, I looked at the Q&A section of the pressure cooker guide and was so surprised!

Me:  Hey, the guide book says if the pressure button doesn’t rise, tap it with a knife!

He:  I wrote that book.


Making gravy, or roux as it’s called by sophisticated Lou-ezee-ana Creole people, is so easy but like white or hollandaise sauces, the preparation has been practically deified by egotistical, I-love-myself chefs, scaring the “bejesus” out of most common, everyday cooks. Not you Jamie.  To make one cup of gravy you’ll need 1 tbsp of fat(preferably left over from some meat you browned), 1 tbsp flour and 1 cup of water or broth or even milk.  Heat the fat, add the flour, then cook and stir/whisk over low heat until the flour is browned to your liking. Continuing to stir/whisk, slowly add your liquid until you have a smooth, well blended sauce.  At this point you’ll want to add salt and pepper, bring it to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the gravy has thickened.  Normal gravy takes about 10-15 minutes to cook.  I don’t know about a roux, I think it takes days 😀


Unpacking and sorting continues.  My husband rented a dumpster for a couple of weeks to fill with packing materials and the sometimes bizarre objects we have accumulated over the decades.  Today, through no fault of our own, he had to throw Jesus in the dumpster. When we bought the house we inherited a peeling, deteriorating, plaster, garden statue of Jesus.  In its condition, it was neither spiritual nor inspiring, just ugly.  A good Roman Catholic, he did feel a little bad.  I hope the oxtails helped.


Oxtails with Gravy

4 lbs oxtails

Salt and pepper

3 tbsp olive oil

2 onions, sliced

2-3 large garlic cloves, slivered

Numerous thyme sprigs

2 bay leaves

3 tbsp flour

2 cans beef broth

Season the oxtails with salt and pepper, then brown in a skillet in the olive oil on every side.  Remove the oxtails and place in a pressure cooker.  Place the onions, garlic, thyme and bay leaves on top.

In the same skillet, brown the flour, then add the beef broth to make a gravy.  Bring to a boil, simmer for about 3 minutes, then season with salt and pepper to taste.  Pour over the oxtails, then pressure cook for 45 minutes.

Serve with rice or orzo or noodles.





About cookinginsens

An American living in Burgundy, France
This entry was posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Oxtails with Gravy

  1. Amanda says:

    Wow what an amazing recipe. This is how I like to eat. I’m totally coming over.

  2. I wouldn’t want to poke a pressure cooker with a knife either. I wonder if I can get oxtails round here. This looks like a lovely dish for the cold weather we’re having.

  3. rayscole says:


    This looks soooo….. MiaMiaam! Saliving!!

  4. Mad Dog says:

    I love oxtail – I was looking at a few in the butcher’s on Saturday, but opted for pheasant instead. I did make a mental note to cook one this week though. Your recipe is similar but different to mine – I use a bottle of red wine in place of the broth.
    There’s no need to fear the pressure cooker – they have so many safety valves and meltable seals that they are quite safe. It’s only very old ones that had no safety features at all. I do like the knife advice though 😉

  5. Grace says:

    I love oxtail! And you’re such a funny writer!

  6. Shit, I love ox tail. If it was a little cooler out here I would be cooking that tonight for sure. As it is, I will settle for a nice fat steak and some kinda salad 🙂

  7. Colin Brace says:

    This recipe makes me think that I really should get a pressure cooker. I’ve cooked oxtails in a regular pan and it takes like three hours. It looks like you have removed the meat from the bones. I find that a bit fiddly, but perhaps the meat is just falling off the bone in your case thanks to the way you cook them — three hours in a regular pan may not be long enough 😉

    • Hi Colin. No I did not remove the meat. 45 minutes in the pressure cooker maintains the shape of the oxtail yet the meat falls off the bone when touched by a fork. Look at the platter picture; the plate pictures are a little dark. 3 hours in a regular pan may not be long enough 🙂

  8. Andrea says:

    Oxtail is one of my favourites… I am also very wary of pressure cookers. One of my first childhood memories is of a family pressure cooker disaster that left the kitchen walls and ceiling dripping applesauce, and my dad with a broken nose!

  9. reggiorif says:

    I remember I had a pressure cooker around the house. I’ll better start searching for it because this is definitely something I want to try. In case I’ll keep my fiancé nearby to tap on it with a knife 😉

  10. Susan says:

    Love oxtails!

  11. Conor Bofin says:

    Great post Rosemary. If it makes you feel any better, I threw Jesus in there a good number of years ago. I have been getting on fine without the interference of his representatives since.
    The tin of gravy makes me shudder.

  12. Yes! OX tail – that’s what I need. It’s on the list for the weekend. I’m eating more meat at moment and it feels great.

  13. platedujour says:

    It looks delicious!

  14. This looks very interesting!

  15. Reblogged this on cookwithsingh and commented:
    Looks so good. Interesting!!

  16. Great post Rosemary. The dumpster story is priceless as is the pressure cooker revalation. Then to top it off you do oxtails, one of my favorites. I just love it. 🙂

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  18. Love oxtails- Lots of flavor and underutilized- I make oxtail consommé and use in different ways such as with oxtail porcini stuffed ravioli.

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