Oxtail Kimchi Stew

January 20, 2023
4 Ratings
Photo by Food52
  • Prep time 35 minutes
  • Cook time 2 hours
  • Serves 6 to 8
Author Notes

When I think about comfort-eating during the winter days, there really isn't anything else that could beat this. This is a stew that is built on the collective wisdom of multiple cultures who have seen their fair share of cold weather, and could all contribute a thing or two to what a perfect winter meal ought to embody. Served warm and bubbly inside a hot vessel? Sure. But also spicy, cheesy, meaty, sticky, nourishing, and filling. Stubborn, and therefore humble ingredients such as oxtail and dry beans are brought down to a surrendered state of gooeyness simply by the magic of time passing, becoming one with the spicy sweetness of Korean chili paste and garlic, lots of garlic. Just when you think it's approaching heaviness, the strategically late addition of kimchi brings acidity and crunch. Then the final onion soup-treatment, an almost cheap trick of finishing it with a crusty slice of bread with tons of melty bubbly cheese on top, will secure its place, I promise you, as your ultimate winter antidote for seasons to come. —Mandy @ Lady and pups

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Oxtail Kimchi Stew
  • Stew
  • 3 pounds oxtail
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 5 shallots, finely chopped
  • 10 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup (225 grams) Korean chili paste/gochujang
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground fennel
  • 1 teaspoon ground sichuan peppercorn
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup rice wine
  • 1 cup dried cannellini beans
  • 8 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1.6 pounds (730 grams) kimchi cabbage with juice, roughly chopped
  • Toppings
  • Crusty loaf of bread
  • Dijon mustard
  • Shredded gruyere cheese
  • Finely chopped herbs like shiso leaves or Chinese chives
  • Chili flakes
  1. In a large dutch oven (or pressure cooker works great also), heat vegetable and sesame oil over high heat. Add the oxtail without overcrowding and let the first side brown really nicely, about 2~4 minutes, before turning and let the second side properly brown as well, another few minutes. Do them in two batches if need be. Return all the oxtail back into the pot, then add the shallots and garlic, and cook until fragrant, about a minute, before adding the gochujang, black pepper, allspice, fennel, sichuan peppercorn and cumin. Stir and sizzle for another minute, just letting the fragrance of gochujang and spices release. Deglaze the pot with rice wine and let cook for another minute, before adding the water, fish sauce and dry beans.
  2. Put the lid on and let cook in a preheated oven at 300°F/150°C, for 3 hours. Or if you're using a pressure cooker, about 1~1:30 hour. You can also keep it at a simmer over stove top, but be sure to stir it once every 30 min or so. I would encourage you to proceed to this point a day or two ahead of time. Stews only get better overnight.
  3. About 30 min before serving, preheat the broiler on high. Add the chopped kimchi and its juices to the stew (I find most supermarket kimchi not tangy enough and would usually add a tsp of white vinegar to it, but it's up to you). Cook for 20 minutes until the kimchi has softened but not mushy. Meanwhile, slice the bread into 3/4" slices and toast in a toaster until lightly browned.
  4. Ladle the stew into individual serving bowls and cover it with toasty bread slices, then cover the bread completely with shredded cheese. Sprinkle some chopped shiso leaves or Chinese chives on top and extra chili flakes if you'd like. Place the bowls a few inches under the broiler and bake until the cheese melts and starts to brown slightly. Serve immediately.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • KingKray
  • arbeenyc
  • louisw
  • ichabod

4 Reviews

KingKray December 24, 2023
This recipe was ridiculously good. Such a great palette reset from all the other traditional winter stews. I’ve done this recipe with oxtail and short rib…both work great. Using sliced croissant bread from Costco was also a winner.
arbeenyc February 10, 2023
I made this yesterday. I used 1 3/4 lbs oxtail so I reduced the other ingredients accordingly (except for the beans). I used 1/2 cup of "mild" gochujuang instead of the 3/4 in the recipe. To my taste, and I like spicy food, the dish, while very flavorful, is simply too heavily spiced. If I make this again, I'll reduce the gochujuang by half and increase the kimchi or mix it with additional Savoy or Napa cabbage to add more body to the dish. It's far too liquid for a stew, more like an extremely spicy soup. (Also, I skipped the bread/cheese topping since there isn't room beneath my old broiler, which is at the bottom of my very old stove.)
louisw January 26, 2023
I really enjoyed this recipe. The flavor combination is very unique, and the taste kept changing with each bite.

If I got some cabbage, it reminded me of a thick kimchi stew (kimchi jjigae). If I got some cheesy bread, it evoked memories of french onion soup. And maybe it was the cumin with the gochujang, but if I got some beef, then it reminded me very much of Texas red / chili con carne.

I would suggest a few modifications though. I think gochujang varies in heat and saltiness, so consider sauteing only a 1/2 cup initially and add the remaining 1/4 cup to taste right before the oven. Mine was very well-seasoned with the full 3/4 cup, so I had to leave out the fish sauce. It would have been way too salty with.

If you can't find oxtail or if it's too pricey, chuck or shoulder roast seems to be a fine substitute as well. You may need to adjust the cooking time. Mine with a shoulder roast was tender at two hours instead of three.

Thanks Mandy!
ichabod February 6, 2023
I would think that short-ribs would work, too. Oxtails are rare in my part of town.