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Mains, Soups

Oxtail Soup

"Common sense is not so common," Voltaire once wrote, and although the irascible Frenchman was writing more than 70 years before she was born, he would undoubtedly have appreciated Isabella Beeton as a very uncommon woman indeed. I certainly did, ... Read more

Total time: 4 hours | Serves 10
  • 2 oxtails (about 6 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 turnips, sliced
  • 3 onions, sliced
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 1 bunch celery, sliced
  • 1 bunch savory herbs, such as thyme, basil or rosemary, tied with cotton twine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 12 whole peppercorns
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 slices ham, chopped
  • 3 quarts plus 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1/3 cup Port

Step 1Place oxtails and butter in Dutch oven or large soup pot. Add carrots, turnips, onions, leek, celery, herbs, bay leaf, peppercorns, cloves, ham and 1 cup water. Cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables soften, 8 to 10 minutes.

Step 2Add remaining water, except for 1/2 cup, and bring to boil. Add salt. Skim fat and scum. Simmer gently until oxtails are tender, 3 to 3 hours 30 minutes.

Step 3Remove oxtails and set aside. Skim fat and scum again. Strain soup, discarding vegetables, herbs, spices and ham, and return soup to pot.

Step 4Combine flour and 1/2 cup water and add to soup to thicken. Add ketchup and Port. Return oxtails to soup and simmer 5 minutes.

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