Oxtail Stewed with White Grapes (la queue de boeuf des vignerons)

I had an early start with March Random Recipe Challenge from Belleau Kitchen. The challenge is to count our cookery books from left to right until you get to your 17th book. There you would flip open a random page and that would be the recipe challenge you will have to create. My 17th book was At Elizabeth David’s Table and the random recipe I got was OXTAIL STEWED with WHITE GRAPES la queue de boeuf des vignerons.

When I first glanced at it I thought, oxtail! Now how is this going to taste? This looks difficult, can I do this? Where can I even find this meat? I’ve had to call 4 different grocery stores to find them. I was quite happy when I finally found a place where I can get them.

I’m no where near the level of expertise that most of the bloggers I see entering the challenges. We’ve not eaten this nor have cooked anything like this before. I’m not quite sure the kiddies and hubs would eat them if they knew what it was and I wouldn’t want to waste food. I was willing to go out of my comfort zone. So here it is………….

TA DA!!!!

This was so delicious that both my kiddies ate them. My son particularly liked the sauce. It was sweet from the grapes and its juices, savoury from the seasoning and meat itself. The meat falls of the bones and melts in your mouth like butter. I never thought we would ever eat oxtail but this is one recipe you will enjoy. Hubs will give it a go tonight : ) I hope he likes it.



  • 2 oxtails (5-6lb) cut into 2 inch lengths,
  • 3-4oz pancetta
  • 2 large onions
  • 4 large carrots
  • a bouquet of 2 bay leaves, parsley, thyme and two crushed cloves of garlic
  • tied in a bunch
  • salt, pepper and a little mace or allspice (I’ve used allspice)
  • 2lb green grapes


Steep the oxtails in cold water for 2 hours, for the blood to soak out.
Chop the onions and dice the carrots. On a heavy cooking pan (I’ve used my cast iron dutch oven) place the pancetta with the vegetables on top. Start off on low flame or setting and cook for 10 minutes. Put the pieces of oxtail and the bouquet in the center. Season the meat with salt, pepper, allspice. Place the lid and gently cook for 20 minutes. Remove stems from the grapes and crush slightly in a bowl. Add them to the pot and cover with 2 sheets of parchment paper and the lid. Transfer to the oven at 275F and cook for a minimum of 3 1/2 hours. Once cooked transfer the oxtail and some of the pancetta bits to a serving dish. Skim off the fat from the cooking liquid and press all the ingredients through a fine sieve. Pour the sauce over the oxtail.

Serve with mashed potatoes or rice.

How to remove sticky labels and odor from pasta and pesto sauce jars.

Have you ever wondered how to remove the sticky labels and odor from glass pasta jars? I have. First I soak up the jars and the lids in hot water. The label comes right off but the sticky annoying residue remains. I tried scrubbing it off with a dish sponge, my thumb, and its quite a labour only to have it spread around even more. I’ve searched online and read a few tips about it. I’ve read using acetone, WD 40, and lighter fluid will do the job. Well, I don’t want to put my jars on fire. I want to clean them and reuse them to store my sugar, oats, rice, and spices…etc.

I used the peanut butter method. If I had known about this earlier on I wouldn’t have had to put so much sweat into it. I’ve masked parts of the jars that had the sticky stuff with peanut butter. Left it on for a few hours. I got some paper towel to wipe off the peanut butter and the sticky stuff vanished along with it! As for the pasta and pesto odor in the jar and the lid, I soaked them in water with baking soda and the odor vanished as well!