This old-fashioned Oxtail Soup is meaty and filled with healthy veggies. The long simmering in a base of red wine, beef broth and herbs gives the soup an intense depth of flavor. Serve up a hot bowl of this soup on a cold winter day and I guaranteed it will warm the tummy, heart and soul.
Oxtail soup, made with simple ingredients and a long slow simmer is one of those good old-time comfort soups that are extra special in the cold winter months. Additional portions of vegetables can change this oxtail soup into a thick and nutritious oxtail stew.
Whenever I make this oxtail soup it brings to mind happy memories of my dad. As a young teenager, I remember how the thought of eating ‘oxtails’ was offensive to me but when that was dinner I ate it with gusto! This oxtail soup is a nutritious, full-meal soup all you need is some homemade biscuits or cornbread to go with it.
Dad would start his soup early in the day with the oxtails simmering in a big pot on a back burner. He used plain ole water, no wine, and no fresh herbs but lots of vegetables. And he loved the fat floating on top!
Are Oxtails a budget cut?
In those long-ago days, oxtail was one of the most budget-friendly cuts of beef you could buy. It was in the same price category as soup bones. Dad had a large family to feed on a limited amount of finances so we had soup, stews and beans/cornbread often. Times have changed and oxtail is no longer as budget-friendly as it once was. When I saw the packages of oxtail in Costco’s meat counter I thought of my dad and had to buy it.
How do you make oxtail soup?
My version of this soup is a little different from my dad’s but I am certain that he would chow down and enjoy it as much as I do. Oxtails are fatty and glutinous with many connective tissues. Unlike my dad, I prefer to remove the fat.
Step 1: Brown the oxtail:
Get out your Dutch oven or a large soup pot, heat the oil and working in batches, sear the oxtail sections in the oil until they have a rich, brown crust. Transfer each browned batch to a plate and reserve. You can also brown the oxtails sections in a heavy-bottomed skillet but using the same pot to sear and cook the soup will save some dishwashing.
Step 2: Simmer the Oxtail:
Simmering the oxtail portions for several hours will release flavors from the fat and bones. The connective tissues will break down and the meat becomes super tender. Add the beef broth, wine, garlic, herb bundle, and the bay leaves, bring to a boil; return the oxtail to the soup pot. Reduce the heat to low and let the meat simmer for three hours.
Step 3: Defat the Soup:
When the oxtails are tender, transfer them from the soup pot to a plate and let them cool. Fish out and discard the herb sprigs and bay leaves. Pour the cooking liquid into a smaller container and put it in the freezer until the fat rises to the top. When the fat becomes solid, bring the pot from the freezer, remove and discard the solid fat.
Step 4: Remove the oxtail meat from the bones:
This is the messy part and I cannot suggest any easier, less messy way of removing the meat than to use your hands. Separate the meat from the globs of fat, grizzle, and bones. Reserve the meat on a plate and discard the fat, grizzle and bones.
Step 5: Finishing the Oxtail Soup:
In the Dutch oven or soup pot, sauté the onions, leeks, celery, carrots and parsnips for about five minutes, then transfer the defatted cooking liquid and the oxtail meat to the pot. Season the soup to taste with table salt. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and simmer the soup for about 30 minutes.
Ladle the soup into serving bowls, garnish each serving with chopped parsley and enjoy with some warm crusty sourdough bread, biscuits or hot cornbread!
SOME OTHER RECIPES WE ARE SURE YOU WILL LOVE:
- Italian Lentil Soup with sausage: Italian Lentil Soup with Sausage is thick and hearty with lentils, Italian sausage, vegetables and spices in a rich broth.
- Split Pea and Ham Soup: Homemade Split Pea and Ham Soup is a classic, comforting soup, perfect for the cold winter weather. Thick with heart-healthy split peas, chunks of smoky ham and lots of nutritious vegetables.
- Chicken Noodle Soup: Chicken noodle soup is so comforting not only when you are down with the flu but anytime. It is healthy and nourishing full of chicken chunks, vegetables and thick noodles in a flavorful chicken broth.
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- 4 pounds meaty oxtails (about eight 3-inch segments), patted dry
- 5 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 12 cups beef broth (3 boxes 32 oz. each)
- 2 cups dry red wine (16 ounces)
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- Rosemary/thyme string tied bundle (2 sprigs fresh rosemary 1 sprig fresh thyme)
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 leeks (white and pale green parts only), sliced
- 1 cup celery cut in 1/4-inch pieces
- 2 cups carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 cup parsnips, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1-1/2 pounds waxy potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
- Pat the oxtail pieces dry with paper towels then season them with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot set over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add a portion of the oxtails and brown them on all sides, transfer to a plate and continue until all the oxtails have browned, about 20 minutes.
- Add the beef broth, wine, garlic, herb bundle and bay leaves to the Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Return the browned oxtail to the pot, then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 3 hours.
- Using tongs, transfer the cooked oxtails to a plate and reserve, remove and discard rosemary/thyme sprig bundle. Transfer the cooking liquid into a smaller container and place in the freezer until the fat comes to the top and solidifies, about 1 hour.
- Remove the container of liquid from the freezer and scoop off the solidified fat and discard. Transfer the oxtails to a cutting board and remove the meat, discard the bones and any grizzle. Reserve the oxtail meat on a plate.
- Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons oil in the empty Dutch oven or soup pot and heat over medium-high. Add onions, leeks and celery. Sauté until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots, parsnips and potatoes, cooking liquid and the meat, Bring the soup to a boil then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls, garnish with chopped parsley and serve. This oxtail soup will be even more tasty the next day after all those yummy flavors mingle together overnight.
- Browning and simmering the oxtail can be made 1 day in advance. Refrigerate the cooking liquid overnight to allow the fat to rise and solidify.
- To turn this soup into a stew, reduce the cooking liquid by two-thirds or less.
- Additional vegetables of your choice can be added or substituted.
- This oxtail soup will taste even better after refrigerating and reheating the next day.
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Serving Size1-1/2 cups
Amount Per Serving Calories 584 Total Fat 28g Saturated Fat 9g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 15g Cholesterol 139mg Sodium 798mg Carbohydrates 25g Net Carbohydrates 0g Fiber 3g Sugar 4g Sugar Alcohols 0g Protein 46g