Ahh, beautiful Italy, adorned with cobble stoned streets, fruity and robust wines and perfumed vineyards. The aroma of rich bubbling marinara sauces and open brick ovens roasting meats and cooking pizzas gives me the memories of Southern cooking slow and low. Where the days were long, cooking came from the heart and a loving dinner was never rushed and always appreciated.

I have yet to visit the most romantic and food savvy city in Europe, and hopefully once the coronavirus pandemic is over and it is safe to travel I will one day be able to take that trip. My grandpa, Maynard Leone Jackson (rest his soul) visited this beautiful city during the late 1930’s and fell in love with the culture and the food. So in paying homage, respect and love to beautiful Italy and my proud grandpa, here’s my updated version of Braised Oxtails in Chianti


4 lbs oxtails, cut into 3″ pieces at the butcher
1/4 c EVO
2 white onions, coarsely chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 c Chianti Reserva (red wine)
2 c organic beef stock
6 fresh thyme sprigs
1 – 28oz whole peeled tomatoes, coarsely chopped with the juice
1 tbs. tomato paste
1 Tbs. worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
1 Tbs. flour
salt & pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pat the meat dry with paper towels and place in a large metal mixing bowl. Sprinkle with Worcestershire, dust with the flour and generously sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place a 6-quart Dutch oven with a tight fitting lid over medium to high heat. Add the EVO and when hot gently add the meat using metal tongs and sear on all sides about 8-10 minutes. Add onion, carrot, celery, red and green bells to the pot and cook, stirring frequently, until browned, about 5-8 minutes. Add the wine, the tomatoes with their juice, thyme, garlic and bay leaf. Bring to a boil for 8 minutes. Add the beef stock and the tomato paste. Return to a boil, cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Cook for 2-3 hours, until the meat is fork tender and falling off the bones. Taste and adjust the seasoning if need be. Top with a parsley, garlic and lemon zest gremolata.