Oxtail Ragu (Paleo, AIP)

Oxtail Ragu (Paleo, AIP)

If a year ago you brought up the topic of nose-to-tail eating with me, I would have likely thundered forth with a hue and cry that when uttered would sound something like “EEEEWWWWWWWW.”

But, oh, how this palate of mine has matured in the last six months since adopting AIP. On an almost weekly basis, I can be heard inquiring at the butcher, “Do you have any beef heart today? How about chicken livers? Oxtail?” Yep, beef heart, chicken livers, and oxtail are my go-to trifecta of nose-to-tail/organ meats because they’re so offal, they’re good!

When I first committed to AIP, like most people, I turned to Sarah Ballantyne’s book The Paleo Approach. In those early days of learning about and transitioning to AIP, I was struck by the import of ingesting protein as a way to promote healing. This sentence from The Paleo Approach really resonated with me: “Protein is required for healing, and the easiest way for the body to heal is if all twenty amino acids are consumed in the diet” (89). Ballantyne then goes on to explain that consuming that whole spectrum of amino acids can be accomplished by eating animal foods, of course, but more specifically, by eating every part of the animal.

There’s no denying it, kids. We just can’t beat the tremendous nutrient density of organ meats. They give us a whole lot of bang for our buck nutritionally, and, actually, economically as well because not many people are jonesing for kidneys and tripe (I’m certainly not that hard core), and so offal is relatively cheap.

A lot of our hang ups with organ meat are cultural or ideological. And I get that. Goodness knows that I wasn’t an easy sell in the organ meat department, but I feel so much better (and this is reflected in my blood work) when I eat organ meat weekly. So from time to time I’ll experiment with different types of offal, and my new favourite is oxtail. Oh. My. WORD. Oxtail is terrifically tender and resembles the most melt-in-your-mouth roast beef.

So here’s my recipe for Oxtail Ragu, which goes wonderfully atop cauli mash and with a side of sautéed collards.

If the thought of eating offal leaves you squeamish, then I recommend you start with this recipe for all its glorious flavah flave. I promise. It just tastes like roast beef!

4.3 from 3 reviews
Oxtail Ragu (Paleo, AIP)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main Dish
Serves: 4-6
  • 3 lbs oxtail
  • 1 cup pure, unsweetened cranberry juice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. fat of choice
  • ½ large onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 Portobello mushroom, chopped
  • Optional: 1 tbsp. arrowroot powder mixed with 1 tbsp. cold water
  1. Place the oxtail in a slow cooker. Add the 1 cup of cranberry juice, 2 cups of water, and 1 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar. Cook on high for four hours.
  2. Remove the oxtail from the slow cooker, pick off the meat, and set aside.
  3. Reserve the stock. In fact, you can set the stock in the freezer for about 45 minutes in order to more easily remove the fat.
  4. Add 2 tbsp. of fat to a large pot and heat over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, and celery. Saute for about 7-8 minutes until the onion becomes translucent. Add the mushroom and saute for a couple miutes more.
  5. Add 2 cups of reserved stock and the oxtail meat.
  6. Bring all contents of the pot to a boil, cover, reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes.
  7. You can add the optional arrowroot powder mixed with water at this point if you desire a thicker consistency. Stir until thoroughly mixed.


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This article was written by

Martine Partridge, founder of Eat Heal Thrive, is an eater of whole, nourishing, real food. She is also a combatter of Crohn's Disease. Martine wholeheartedly believes that food is the fulcrum for good health and has had wonderful results in managing autoimmunity by eating to heal, and healing to thrive.

There are 19 comments for this article
  1. Lina | StrictlyDelicious at 7:53 pm

    I am all about organ meat lately too! In fact, I’m linking up two great recipes to the roundup this week that use them! I’ve also fallen in love with oxtail lately, and this looks fabulous. I love that you braise it in cranberry juice! Brilliant!

  2. Danielle at 2:32 pm

    I had my first oxtail here in Spain just last fall and fell in love… So tender and delish! Now that I know it’s good for me too, I will definitely be trying this recipe! I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and have just learned about the AutoImmune Paleo diet and I’m easing myself into it… Thank you for what you do and for sharing your wonderful recipes. Blessings!

    • Martine Partridge Author at 4:34 pm

      Wonderful to hear from you, Danielle. Thank you for your kind words. Using food as medicine has changed my life — I no longer fear autoimmunity. I wish you all the best in your journey to healing, and enjoy the oxtail. 😉 It’s soooo good!

  3. Jessica at 1:46 am

    This was delicious and pretty easy to make. I’ll be struggling to eat organ meat a lot less now than before making this recipe!

  4. Natalie at 6:38 pm

    Hi Martine… what can I try using in place of cranberry juice? The blood test showed an intolerance to cranberries. Any suggestions?

    • Martine Partridge Author at 8:27 pm

      Hi, Natalie. I avoid wine even in cooking, which is why I use cranberry juice in this recipe. I would go for something dark and tart, like what about 100% pure grape juice. I think the purple or the white could work quite well. Pomegranate juice could be another option. 🙂 Would any of these work for you?

  5. Bonnie at 10:49 pm

    Hi! I am curious if there is another recipe for the mash in this picture. I’m currently eating Paleo style, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to do AIP. Thanks for all of your tasty looking recipes!

    • Martine Partridge Author at 3:48 am

      Hi, Bonnie. The recipe for this Cauli-Leek Mash is listed under side dishes on the recipe tab of my blog. I guest-posted the recipe over at Sweet Potatoes & Social Change, so the link in my post takes you there. I’m making this mash for our family’s Xmas Dinner! 🙂

  6. Michael Whaley at 5:56 pm

    Beef heart and chicken livers are organ meats, AKA offal. Internal organs and entrails.
    Oxtail (beef tail) IS NOT and is mistakenly classed as such in this article. It is no different than a bone-in roast or steak.
    I like the recipe.

    • Martine Partridge Author at 11:32 pm

      Hi, Michael. I had actually been wondering about this classification because the meat around the tail is muscle meat much like, as you say, a roast or steak. So thanks for the input! I guess the nose-to-tail category, which, of course, includes the organ meat, has become somewhat (wrongly) synonymous with offal. Either way, oxtail is one of my faves!

  7. Dora at 1:18 am

    This was really delicious, Martine! Used the Instant Pot to cook the oxtail at high pressure for 1 hour before removing and shredding the meat. It was so tender! I also sauteed the mushrooms separately before adding bone broth and blending it with my immersion blender (as my son doesn’t fancy the texture of mushrooms). After mixing everything up, I used the pressure cooker function and cooked the ragu for 5 minutes (instead of simmering for 20 minutes), adding frozen cranberries once it was done and simmered a while until the cranberries popped. So tasty and comforting! Will try using beef shank next time as oxtail is really pricey (about $30/kg where I am).

  8. Pingback: Link Love: Organ Meat Recipes | Phoenix Helix

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