These Oxtail Dumplings Impress

Oxtail Swiss Chard Dumplings with Sour Cherry Coulis and Oxtail Jus

Specifically designed by Chef Scott Nishiyama to pair with JINSEI Pinot Noir
I had been thinking about how to take the idea of an Italian stuffed pasta dish and turn it on its head to give it a more California/Japanese bent. This dish is what I came up with. A homemade dumpling wrapper would be spectacular, but I’ve used premade gyoza wrappers here for ease, and they still taste very good.

Serves 4

Active time: 2 hours

Total time: 5 hours


  • 2 lbs oxtail cut into 2” pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped,
  • 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 3 T tomato paste
  • ¼ c dry red wine
  • 1 qt beef stock (or low sodium beef broth)
  • 1 bunch swiss chard
  • 1 jar of sour cherries (not dried)
  • ½ c granulated sugar
  • 3-4 T soy sauce
  • ½ T red wine vinegar
  • 1 package of gyoza wrappers
  • 1 whole egg, beaten


Cooking the Oxtail

Season the oxtail on all sides with salt and pepper. In a heavy bottomed braising pot on high heat, add a couple tablespoons of canola oil, and sear the oxtail on all sides until it is nicely brown.  Reserve the oxtail, and clean the pot of any burnt pieces. Add the onion, carrot, and garlic to the pot and sweat the vegetables slowly without getting any color on them, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Add the red wine and cook until reduced by half. Add the oxtails so they are in a single layer, and cover with the beef broth. Add the bay leaf and thyme. Allow the liquid to come to a boil, then reduce to a slow simmer. Cover the pot with the lid and place the pot into a 300°F oven. After about 2 hours, check the oxtail. The meat should easily fall off the bone. If it doesn’t, return to the oven, and continue to cook until it is done. Remove the lid and allow the oxtails to cool for about 30 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the oxtail and place on a tray to continue to cool. Strain the braising liquid. Reserve the liquid and discard all the solids. When the oxtail has cooled sufficiently to handle, peel off all the meat from the bones. Using a chef’s knife, chop the oxtail so it is uniform in size and fairly fine. The oxtail should have a bit of texture but be easy to pick up with a spoon. This oxtail mixture can be cooled in the refrigerator at this point.  

Preparing Swiss Chard

Thoroughly wash and dry the swiss chard leaves. If the leaves are still a bit moist, this is fine, the extra water will help steam the leaves when they are cooked. Trim off the white ribs and reserve for another use. In a hot pan, add a couple tablespoons of canola oil. Carefully add the swiss chard leaves, as they will crackle when the residual water hits the hot oil. Season the chard with salt and pepper and stir the leaves constantly to avoid burning. The water on and in the leaves will steam and wilt the leaves. When the leaves have wilted down to a mass and are tender, remove them from the pan.  Allow the swiss chard to cool completely.  When sufficiently cool, chop the swiss chard until it is as fine as the oxtail.
Add the swiss chard to the oxtail and stir well to incorporate. Check the seasoning of the oxtail mixture, adding salt and pepper if needed.


Lay a few gyoza wrappers down on a clean cutting board. Brush each wrapper completely with egg. Spoon about a teaspoon of oxtail mixture into the center of each wrapper. Fold one edge of the wrapper over on itself to seal the mixture inside. You should now have a half moon-shaped gyoza. Place the finished gyoza on a tray dusted with coarse cornmeal to keep it from sticking to the tray. Fill the wrappers until all the oxtail mixture is used. At this point, the dumplings can be refrigerated for two days, or frozen for a month.

Sour Cherry Coulis

Drain the cherries and add them with the sugar to a saucepan. Cover the pan and put on medium low heat. As the cherries heat, give the pan a shake so the sugar does not burn on the bottom. The cherries should release their juices as they cook. Continue to cook until the cherries have broken down and there is no more juice. Add the soy sauce and vinegar. Add all to a blender and blend until smooth. Strain the coulis to remove any missed seeds or pulp.

Finishing & Assembly

Add a tablespoon of canola oil to a nonstick pan and sear up to 8 dumplings or what will comfortably fit in the pan (do not overcrowd the pan). When one side of the dumplings is nicely brown, pour a few tablespoons of water into the pan. Immediately cover the pan with a lid, as the pan will sizzle and pop. Allow the dumplings to steam. When the dumpling wrappers are soft and semi-translucent, remove them from the pan. Take the braising liquid that was reserved from cooking the oxtails and bring it to a boil. Reduce until it has the consistency of a thick sauce. Arrange the dumplings on a plate. Spoon a bit of the oxtail sauce on each dumpling and around the plate. Spoon a few dollops of the sour cherry coulis on the plate. Serve immediately with a glass of JINSEI Pinot Noir.