Hereford Oxtail with Herb Dumplings

Serves: 4

Cooking Time: 3 hours 30 minutes


  • 1.3kg/3lb oxtail pieces
  • 30ml/2tbsp plain flour mixed with 10ml/2tsp English mustard powder
  • Salt and freshly milled black pepper
  • 30ml/2tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and sliced
  • 600ml/1pint stout or brown ale
  • 300ml/½pint water
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 medium parsnips, peeled and roughly cubed
  • 2 sticks celery, chopped
  • Dumplings
  • 175g/6oz self-raising flour
  • Salt
  • 75g/3oz butter, cubed
  • 30ml/2tbsp freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 45-60ml/3-4tbsp cold water


  • Preheat the oven to Gas mark 3, 170°C, 325°F.
  • Mix the flour and mustard in a large bowl. Season. Toss the oxtail pieces in the seasoned flour. Heat the oil in a large pan and brown the oxtail for 4-5 minutes. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Transfer to a large ovenproof casserole dish and add the remaining ingredients except the parsnips and celery. Bring to the boil, cover and transfer to a preheated oven and cook for 3-3½ hours.
  • Prepare the dumplings: place the flour, salt and butter in a large bowl, rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips and add the herbs. Stir in enough water to form a smooth dough and shape into 8 evenly-sized dumplings. Cover and set aside.
  • 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time, add the parsnips and celery. 20 minutes before the end of cooking, remove the stew from the oven, add the dumplings and return to the oven uncovered.
  • Serve with Savoy cabbage.