Though a humble cut, oxtail segments braised in a rich broth with root vegetables makes a sumptuous, comforting soup.
Is Oxtail Soup Really Made Of Oxtails?
The name of this soup is a little misleading. Though, long ago the meat cut did come from the tail of an ox, today it comes from cows. So, it’s beef and its taste is often compared to that of short ribs. It’s a bony, fatty cut perfect for braising. And because the meat is gelatinous, the resulting broth is rich and lush.
Where Is Oxtail Soup From?
Several cultures have a version of this soup including Korean, Italian, Chinese, and Jamaican so you’ll find plenty of variety in recipes.
My favorite version has its origins in Britain. The oxtails are braised in a rich tomato and beef broth and studded with potatoes and carrots.
How To Make British Style Oxtail Soup
The preparation for this dish is simple. It’s the long braising time of 3 hours that develops the complex, savory flavors and tenderizes the meat.
An important step in the preparation process is browning the meat. Don’t get impatient during this step. When you sear the meat make sure to let a brown, crisp crust form. It takes about 5 – 6 minutes per side in a medium-high heat.
Remove the browned meat from the soup pot or Dutch oven and drain half of the rendered fat from the pot. Add the onion and celery to the pot and cook until softened. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Next stir in the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and sherry or water to deglaze the pot. Add the seared oxtail segments back to the pot along with the herbs and beef broth. Then, sit back and enjoy the aroma of braising oxtails.
After 2 and ½ hours of braising, add the root vegetables and allow to cook until tender, about 30 minutes.
Serving The Oxtail Soup
Remember to remove the bay leaf from the soup. I like to spoon a tail segment into each of the serving bowls, surround it with the vegetables and then ladle the broth over all.
If you prefer, you can remove the oxtail segments and shred the meat from the bones and then transfer the shredded meat back into the soup and serve. Garnish with parsley and serve with a crusty loaf of bread to sop up all of the broth.
If you manage to have any leftovers, store covered in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months in a freezer safe container.
More Beefy Soup Recipes
If you want another way to make this decadent cut of meat, you should definitely try braising the oxtails like this. But, if you want different kinds of beefy soups, I have just the recipes for you!
And, if you’re just plain always in the mood for soup, you have to go browse through my soup recipes here, there are over 70 delicious recipes to choose from!
Podcast Episode: Making Oxtail Soup
Listen to learn how to make this recipe, along with some great tips from me along the way!Print
Though a humble cut, oxtail segments braised in a rich broth with root vegetables makes a sumptuous, comforting soup that I know you’re going to make over and over again. Enjoy! -Christine xo
- 3 lbs. oxtail cut into 3-inch segments
- 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, canola
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1/3 cup sherry, optional
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 cups beef broth
- 1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 3 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Pat oxtail segments dry and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- In a large heavy soup pot of Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat.
- Add oxtail segments, without crowding. Cook the meat undisturbed for 5 – 6 minutes, until a dark brown crust develops. Turn and continue searing all sides.
- Transfer the meat to a clean bowl. Drain 1/2 the fat from the pan.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add the onion and celery, and cook until the onions and celery have softened, 9 – 10 minutes.
- Add the garlic, cooking until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Stir in tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce.
- Increase the heat to medium-high and add sherry if using or 1/3 cup broth. Stir to combine.
- Add the oxtail segments and any juice that has accumulated on the plate back into the pot.
- Add the thyme, bay leaf, and broth. Stir to combine. Bring the broth to a simmer and then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer for 2 ½ hours, stirring occasionally.
- Add the carrots and potatoes. Cover the pot and continue cooking for another 30 minutes. The meat should fall from the bone and the vegetables tender.*
- To serve, spoon a tail segment into a large soup bowl, surround with the vegetables and ladle broth over all. Garnish with parsley.
- Alternatively, remove the oxtail segments from the soup and shred the meat from the bone. Return the shredded meat to the soup and serve in large soup bowls.
*Because oxtail is a fattier cut of meat, you will sometimes get some fat across the top of the broth that has rendered during cooking. If you want to remove that, you can spoon it off. However, I find it more effective to pour some of the broth into a gravy separator, allow the fat to rise to the top, then return the broth to the pot.