Don’t let the dish name dissuade you. Oxtail soup, popular in Asian cuisine, isn’t usually made with ox meat anymore. Decades ago, this dish was made with ox meat, but in recent times a lot of people incorporate cow tail into the dish instead. Oxtail is the culinary term for cattle tails and the term can refer to different animals. Oxtails make the most flavorful beef stock. Most of the robust beef flavor comes from the bones and marrow in the tail, but the meat is also very tasty.
Although oxtails are used for much more than soup or stew these days, long, slow braising in a liquid is the best method to get a tender result and the maximum flavor from a piece of meat that’s mostly all bone. Plan on cooking for a long time, but oxtails cook well in crock-pots or pressure cookers.
Prep time: 1+ hours
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 medium size onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 oxtail, jointed (segmented), trimmed of sinew
500g diced stewing beef (chuck, or topside)
¾ cup Shao Hsing Chinese cooking wine
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1½ litres beef stock
3 liters of water
3 thick slices ginger or galangal, washed before slicing
2 whole star anise pods
2 pieces cassia bark (about 5 cm long)
6-7 whole, white peppercorns or Sichuan peppercorns
2-3 whole, dried and deseeded long red chillies
2 pieces orange peel or dried mandarin peel from an Asian supermarket
2 pieces lime peel
1 large carrot, peeled, halved and sliced thinly
200g broccoli, cut into florets and thinly sliced stem pieces
1-2 sliced bunches buk choy
2-3 leaves silverbeet, trimmed and sliced thinly
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
200g thickly sliced fresh rice noodles
Thinly sliced green onion
In a large, lidded pot, cook onions in olive oil until soft. Add garlic and cook (1-2 minutes) until fragrant, remove and set aside.
Add oxtail segments and stewing beef, brown meat on all sides then return onions to pot.
Add wine, soy, stock, water, ginger, star anise, cassia, peppercorns, dried chillies, orange and lime peel. Bring to the boil then reduce heat to a simmer.
Simmer (2½ – 3 hours) until meat is tender and flaking from bone. Cool mixture and strain, reserve stock, and meat (in separate bowls). Discard remaining ingredients. Refrigerate overnight.
Next day, remove any solidified fat from the top of the stock and transfer to a large pot. Flake remaining meat, including meat from the oxtail bones, into stock. Discard bones, fat, sinew etc.
Bring soup back to the boil and skim surface of any remaining impurities, reduce heat to low until ready to serve. Bring a separate (large) pot of water to a rapid boil.
As a guide, prepare 1 cup of vegetables per person and 75-80g fresh noodles per person. Work out how many vegetables to use (cook only as much as you will need for each specific meal).
Steam or blanch vegetables in boiling water until tender. Add firmer vegetables first, such as the carrots and broccoli stem, cook (2-3 minutes) until half done. Then add broccoli florets and remaining (softer) vegetables, along with noodles, cook (1-2 minutes) until tender. Remove vegetables and noodles, drain.
Divide between individual (large) serving bowls.
Ladle hot soup (stock and meat) over vegetables and noodles. Garnish with coriander leaves and green onion. Serve with soy sauce and sambal on the side.
Freeze remaining oxtail soup for later use. Reheat and serve with freshly prepared and blanched vegetables.
View the original recipe here.