Oxtail in the Slow Cooker – Yum ( not low cal – but once in a while why not?)


This is a favorite South African Recipe. It is not for everyone. But we love it!

It was my father’s favorite recipe. Here is a picture of my mom and dad, Norma and Jack Wolfowitz, about two months before he died of a heart attack. My parents Jack (56)and Norma Estelle Wolfowitz(nee Cohen)(46)Oh, how I miss him….he died when I was 18 and he was 56 – too young. He was a renowned general surgeon in South Africa, did the world’s first separation of  female Siamese twins who were joined at the head ( cranio-pagus) and those two young girls survived into adulthood – but alas, my father died just a few months after doing the surgery.

He was also a musician, played the piano, drums, trumpet and had two night club bands during his school days. My love of music and that of our grandsons comes from him. He was a connoisseur of fine wines and food, loved to cook – and was a great chef of ethnic food – especially curries and Chinese cuisine. My sister, Pamela and I were his assistants on Sunday nights when he would go into the kitchen to whip something up.

Family and friends would gather on Saturdays and Sundays around our piano to sing and dance while my dad played for hours – such happy times.

My dad was an amazing speaker – eloquent and funny- I like to think that my son James takes after him there. Sigh.

So many memories – and so many decades past – another world, another lifetime – how blessed I was to have had what I did for as long as we did. And how blessed I am now to have the family and love around me that I do.

Here are our grandsons playing the piano – twins, Noah and Gabriel, and below them, Jonah and Jack. How proud my father would have been!

Noah and Gabe playing piano b and w Sept 2013

Jack playing piano sept 2013

Jack playing the piano ( he is actually playing, whereas Noah and Gabriel are messing about!)

And finally Jonah giving the piano a whirl! Hooray for my daughter in law Donne who has them all taking piano lessons – bless you my dear.

Jonah playing piano Sept 2013

Oxtail Stew – in the Slow Cooker!


  • 5 lb oxtail
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons barbecue/steak spice Robertsons Barbecue spice available from AfricanHut.com
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3 cloves of garlic – finely chopped
  • 1 beer – 12 oz
  • 1/2 cup port
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes ( we love sweet potatoes for this)
  • 6 carrots – peeled and cut into 1 inch (2,5 cm) lengths or use the baby carrots which come cut
  • Alternatively use pumpkin or zucchini about 2 cups of each


  1. Measure and weigh all ingredients and set aside
  2. Add the flour and dry spices together. Put all the meat in a large Ziploc bag, add the flour and spices to the bag. Shake the bag to ensure that all the meat is covered in the flour mixture. Remove the meat from the bag. Retain any excess flour.
  3. Heat a large cast iron skillet to hot. Add the oil to the skillet. Brown the meat on all sides. Take care not to overcrowd the skillet, if necessary brown meat in more than one batch. You know the tip – if the pieces touch they will not brown properly – something to do with the chemistry!
  4. Put the meat into your slow cooker ( or if you don’t have one you could add the rest to the skillet).
  5.  Add the beer, port and garlic to the slow cooker. Cook on low temperature for 90 minutes if in a skillet, otherwise cook on medium for 4-5 hours.
  6. Add the vegetables – potatoes and carrots or sweet potatoes, pumpkin or zucchini to the slow cooker. If using the skillet cook another 30 minutes till the vegetables are soft.
  7. If the stew is not thick add the retained flour to the stew. Mix and allow to cook for 5 minutes to thicken up in the skillet or 30 minutes if in the slow cooker.
  8. Serve with rice (basmati steamed in a rice cooker is easiest)

About Grandma

I have reinvented myself many times during my life -teacher, lawyer, business woman, CEO, Entrepreneur, Board member, Professor, Mom, Wife, Farmer, Chef, Musician, Author and now my best role of all - Grandma to multiple grandchildren, grandnephews and nieces worldwide.
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