Oxtail Soup

Oxtail Soup

Unctuous. Indeed, unctuous is the word that comes to mind when slurping this soup. This is a soup for folks that don’t mind a bit of fat hanging to the bones. It’s a soup for those of us who like to pick at succulent bits of meat wedged into bones. If I haven’t turned you off already, read on.

If you’re a fan of short ribs, you will love this soup. If fatty meats are of concern, this may not be the soup for you. But, for me, this is a soup that is immensely satisfying while I am cocooned in my house in the depths of an icy, wintry world.

Ox-tails are, you guessed it, the tails from steers, and they are marbled in fat. The sections are rich in marrow, so your broth will be incredibly dense and rich with flavor. This is the time of year I see oxtails at many markets around town.

I always make oxtail soup a day in advance of serving so I can skim off much of the fat, which accumulates to the top after the soup is chilled. If desired, remove meat from ox tails and return meat to soup before serving. I prefer serving the soup with the bone.

There are many versions of oxtail soup on-line-the Korean versions sound quite good. The recipe I used was inspired by a classic version of the soup using red wine and roasted root vegetables.

Recipe: Oxtail Soup


  • 1 1/2-2 pounds oxtails with separated joints
  • Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 3 whole cloves garlic, peel intact
  • One bay leaf
  • Pinch of thyme
  • 2 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 parsnips, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 turnips or 1 small fennel bulb, cut into 1-inch pieces


  1. Pat dry oxtails with paper towels. Season oxtails with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium to medium high heat in a heavy-bottomed pan or Dutch oven. Sear the oxtails in on all sides, about 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove oxtails to a plate, and reserve.
  2. Add the onion, carrot and celery to the pan. Cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Return the oxtails back to the pan. Add the garlic cloves, stock, wine, bay leaf and thyme. Bring to a slow boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 3 hours, until meat is fork tender. (At this point, refrigerate overnight to allow the fat to coagulate at the top of the soup. Skim the fat, then proceed with the recipe.)
  3. An hour before reheating soup, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss carrots, parsnips and turnips in olive oil in a roasting pan. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast vegetables for 35-45 minutes, or until browned and cooked through.
  4. While vegetables are roasting, remove oxtails from soup, then pour the oxtail through a mesh strainer into a bowl, using a rubber spatula to press against the vegetable solids caught in the strainer. Discard the solids. Return the broth to the pan and simmer until reduced by half. Then return oxtails to pot, and add the roasted vegetables to the pot. Heat over low heat 30 minutes.

Time: Apx. 4 hours (mostly unattended) plus an overnight chill

Number of servings (yield): 3-4

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

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