Mediterranean Oxtail Stew with Pearl Barley & Green Anchovy Dressing

Mediterranean Oxtail Stew with Pearl Barley & Green Anchovy Dressing

Serves 4 

Take 8 hours 



A comforting stew with a Mediterranean twist. Cooking oxtail low and slow makes for soft, unctuous meat that lends itself fabulously to the rich, garlic-laden tomato sauce. Mixed with salty olives and capers for a savoury finish and dotted with a punchy herb and anchovy dressing, this is a stew that will truly awaken your senses from the sleepy, winter dishes of late.


1. Set your slow cooker to medium.
2. Set a frying pan on a medium-high heat with a tbsp oil, once hot add in the oxtail pieces and fry until browned on all sides (you may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your pan).
3. Once browned, remove and place into your slow cooker. Add the onions into the pan and fry in the meat fat until softened, add in the garlic and red peppers, continue to cook until fragrant.
4. Squeeze in the tomato paste and chilli flakes, cook out the paste for 5 minutes, deglaze the pan with the red wine and transfer everything to the slow cooker with the oxtail.
5. Pour in the tinned tomatoes, add the bay leaves, salt, pepper, brown sugar and beef stock. Stir well to combine then place a lid on and leave to slow cook for 8 hours.
6. When there is one hour left, pour in the olives and capers and stir though, place lid back on for the final hour.
7. In the meantime, you can make the green anchovy sauce. In a food processor, place all of the ingredients and blitz to a textured sauce, taste and adjust the seasonings where you see necessary – more oil if too sharp, more lemon if more citrus is needed. (This is a loosely based recipe as it can be adjusted to the individuals tastes). Spoon into a bowl for later.
8. Place a saucepan of salted water onto boil. Once boiling, add in the pearl barley and cook for 15 minutes until softened but still has a bite. Drain and leave to cool.
9. After 8 hours, check the oxtail – it should be almost falling off the bone by now. Remove the bay leaves then carefully spoon out the oxtail chunks trying to scoop up as much meat as possible, place in a bowl.
10. Pour in the cooked pearl barley, stirring well to combine. Add in half of the chopped parsley and stir through again.
11. Spoon the pearly barley stew into bowls and place a serving of oxtail on top. Pour over a little of the rich tomato sauce from the slow cooker and dot with the green anchovy sauce. Garnish with the remaining chopped parsley and chives. Enjoy!


A slow cooker is ideally required, however this recipe can still be cooked in a large dutch oven or pot and placed in the oven for the same amount of time at 140C fan. 

For the stew:
• Olive oil, for frying
• 1.5kg oxtail, cut into pieces (ask your butcher to do this)
• 2 tins of tomatoes
• 1 tbsp tomato paste
• 1 large white onion, diced
• 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
• 2 red peppers, roughly diced
• 2 bay leaves • 200ml beef stock
• 175ml red wine • 2 tsp salt
• 2 tsp pepper • 2 tsp chilli flakes
• 2 tsp brown sugar
• 75g black pitted olives
• 2 tbsp capers, drained
• 300g pearl barley
• Handful of parsley, roughly chopped
• Handful of chives, finely chopped

For the Green Anchovy Dressing:
• 4 anchovy fillets, pour in a drop of the anchovy oil too
• 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped in half
• Handful of parsley, roughly torn
• Handful of coriander, roughly torn
• Handful of basil, roughly torn
• 1 lemon, juiced
• 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• Good pinch of salt