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“Heartwarming Embrace” Oxtail and Focaccia

2h 30m
Serves 4


“Heartwarming Embrace” Oxtail and Focaccia



  • 2 Whole oxtails
  • 2 white onions
  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • 250ml Olive oil
  • 15ml Worchester sauce spice (Barbecue spice can be substituted)
  • ½ tsp mild curry powder
  • 25ml Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 bunch Fresh Coriander
  • 1 packet Peeled baby potatoes
  • 1 packet peeled baby carrots
  • 40g Maizina (thickener)
  • 30g Sugar
  • Salt & black pepper to taste
  • 3 cups White flour
  • 2 cups Luke warm water
  • 1 packet Bread yeast
  • 25g Mixed dried herbs



  1. Fry the oxtail pieces in a little of the olive oil in a big enough pressure cooker until all sides of every piece is golden brown.
  2. After some frying, a “fond” will develop on the bottom of the pot. It’s the brown stuff coating the bottom of the pot. Don’t let that burn or get too dark. It’s good practise to deglaze the pot with some water and continue frying until the fond looks like it will start burning. Repeat the deglazing process.
  3. Cut the white onions into small pieces.
  4. Remove the oxtail from the pot and fry the white onion pieces until they start to get a brown colour, deglazing as before. 
  5. Add the oxtail back to the pot.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Add Worchester spice, 10 ml mixed herbs, finely chopped Garlic, sugar and curry to the pot.
  8. Cover the contents with water.
  9. Pressure cook on high for 30 mins
  10. Open the pot carefully and test the oxtail with a fork for tenderness. It needs to start turning tender, but not falling off the bone tender. If it’s still tough, close the pot and cook for another 10 minutes high pressure.
  11. If there’s a lot of oil floating on top of the oxtail, carefully remove it with a ladle.
  12. Once the oxtail is just about to become tender, add the potatoes and carrots.
  13. Cook using high pressure for 10 minutes.
  14. Open the pot carefully and add the balsamic vinegar and coriander to taste.
  15. Test your seasoning at this point and adjust.
  16. Thicken the gravy with the thickener, dissolved into some water, as thick as you want it.

The Focaccia:

  1. Mix the flour, salt to taste, yeast and sugar together.
  2. Start adding lukewarm water, a little bit at a time.
  3. Mix until you get a soft, sticky dough. If you  accidentally added too much water, just add a little more flour and mix until you reach the desired consistency.
  4. Cover the mixing bowl with a damp cloth a leave to rise for 1 hour.
  5. After 1 hour, wet your hand and fold the dough onto itself in the bowl a few times.
  6. Repeat this rising and folding process 2 to 3 times.
  7. After the third folding process, take the dough out of the bowl and place it onto an over baking tray lined with baking paper.
  8. Flatten the dough with your hands  into your desired shape of +-4-5 cm heigh.
  9. User your fingers to poke holes into the dough. Pour some of the olive oil over the dough to make this easier. Don’t hold back on the olive oil.
  10. Looselysprinkle some mixed herbs, salt and pepper over the dough. Drizzle more olive oil over the dough.
  11. Bake in a preheated oven at 200 Celsius for 20-25minutes or until golden brown.
  12. You can test whether the bread is fully cooked by sticking a sharp knife  blade into the thickest part of the bread. It should come out dry and clean.
  13. Remove from the oven let the bread rest and cooldown before serving.


Serve the oxtail, vegetables and gravy in a deep dish with the Focaccia cut into pieces on the side to mop up the gravy.


Don’t be scared of fat on the oxtail. Fat is flavour. If you don’t like the fat, trim as much as you like to taste.
Don’t fry too many oxtail pieces at any one time. Ensure there is some space between each piece.
The fond is the key to this dish. Don’t burn it or skip that step.
Not everyone likes coriander, so add to taste.
Try not to overcook the vegetables. They need to hold their shape when you plate up, whilst still being tender.
The focaccia’s dough shouldn’t be too dense or too sloppy. It should be wet to the touch but foldable. Use lukewarm water to create the dough. That will speed up the rise of the dough. Place the bowl in a warm place - e.g. an oven set on its lowest temperature. Leaving the dough in the fridge overnight will result in a more flavourful focaccia.

Heartwarming Embrace Oxtail and Focaccia