The other week when I was shopping, I noticed that oxtails were pretty cheap. When I came home, I asked my husband, “Do you know anything good to do with oxtails?” He said “I used to have oxtail soup from a package growing up.” So I picked up some oxtails and decided to try making oxtail soup. One thing that I learned was oxtails are very fatty. My husband really doesn’t like the texture of fat and fatty meat, so we decided to strain the meat and fat out of the soup before serving. Next time I make this, I think I will make it in two passes.
If you buy a whole (half/quarter) cow, then you’ll need something to do with the oxtails. They make a very rich broth.
3 lbs. oxtail
2-3 cloves garlic
1-2 stalks celery
8 cups water
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp paprika
bouquet garni of parsley, thyme, and bay leaf bundled together
OR 2-3 tsp dried thyme, 2 tsp parsley, 1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
Brown oxtails in a little olive oil, so they are brown on all sides. Remove from pot. Add onions, and cook for a few minutes, then add garlic, celery, and carrots. If you are making in a pot, add meat back, spice with salt, pepper, and paprika. Otherwise, transfer meat and vegetables to crockpot and deglaze pan with a little water, then pour that into the crockpot too, and then spice. Add tomato paste, water, and bouquet garni (or dried herbs).
Simmer 4 hours or cook on low in crockpot for 10 hours. Here’s where I would stop and wait until the next day, if you don’t like the fattiness of the soup. Refrigerate the soup overnight. Skim off the layer of fat on the top (I decided to give it to the dog). It will be very gelatinous; heat so that it is liquid again. Strain out meat and bones, reserving carrots and celery, and return to soup. (Optionally, you could make the soup with just a few carrots and then add new carrots and celery after straining and just cook until the vegetables are soft).
You can get about 5-6 decent servings of soup.