The World Traveler’s Guide To The Best Oxtail Soup Recipes

 

Korean Oxtail Soup

Ever wondered where oxtail soup gets its name? No, it is not a prestigious university in England. Rather, oxtail literally refers to the meat from an ox’s tail. Who would have thought? To be honest with you, we never even realized that oxen had tails.

It has been said that oxtail soup originated in the hills of the rural English countryside. Over time, the dish gained popularity the world over. Before long, the dish was adopted by Korean, Indonesian, and Chinese cuisines. Clearly, there’s something about this soup that has won over soup lovers all around the world.

The beauty of oxtail soup is that it can be made in so many different ways. In its traditional British form, it is thick, dark, and has a consistency resembling that of a rich gravy.

Latin American renditions, it is made with tomato and vegetables to resemble a thinner, veggie soup. Chinese traditions, oxtail soup takes on the consistency of stew.

We’ll be the first to say it—oxtail soup is the ultimate soup. It is meaty and hearty, light and healthy, jam-packed with veggies and spices, and can be varied in countless ways. This makes oxtail soup totally customizable according to your own unique tastes and preferences.

If you need a starting point, use our handy guide to the best oxtail soups from all over the globe. This way, you can find a recipe that best suits your tastes, and then you can experiment by adding more ingredients that might enhance the dish. That is what’s so great about oxtail soup—it’s all about getting creative.    

Classic British Oxtail Soup

The greatest thing about traditional English oxtail soup is that it is a long and rewarding experience. It might take a while to make, but it is a true labor of love. Try this recipe as a solid, nothing-fancy introduction to this delicious, world-renowned soup.

other cook for oxtail soup

Ingredients

Here’s everything you’ll need for this classic oxtail soup:

  • 75g salted butter
  • 2 lbs. Oxtail, trimmed and sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • 1 turnip, peeled and sliced
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 350ml red wine
  • 75ml sherry
  • 3 tbsp. parsley, chopped

Instructions

To begin, heat the salted butter in a pan and then add the oxtail to cook until fully browned. Then, set aside the oxtails and sweat the veggies in the juices for a few minutes. Afterward, place the oxtails back in the pan alongside the peppercorns, wine, and two liters of water. Toss on some salt and pepper and bring to a boil.

Once the pot is boiling, cover and simmer until the meat is tender. This may require several hours of simmering, depending on your taste preferences. Then, strain off the water and set aside the veggies and peppercorn. Separate the oxtails from the bone and fat, then place in a bowl and put in the fridge.

The following day, discard the fat that will solidify on the top of the bowl. Once the fat is removed, pour the stock in a pan with the meat and simmer. Add sherry and seasoning to taste and let simmer for five minutes. Serve with parsley to garnish.

Canton Chinese Oxtail Soup

Now that you have tried British oxtail soup, give the Chinese version a taste. This variety features a tomato base and is heavily inspired by Russian and French cuisines. This is a true cosmopolitan dish. Why not give it a shot tonight?

Ingredients

Here’s everything you will need to make Chinese oxtail soup:

  • 4.5 lbs. Oxtail
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 4 Yukon gold potatoes, chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (28 oz.)
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 small chunk ginger, sliced
  • ? head cabbage, chopped
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • Sour cream for garnish
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Start by putting the oxtail and either 8 cups of beef stock or water in a pot. Bring the pot to a boil over medium heat and cook for 25 minutes. Remove any foam that gathers at the top of the pot. Move the oxtail to a pressure cooker and transfer broth into the pressure cooker. Cover and cook on high for 30 minutes.

Take out the oxtail once finished and move to a dinner plate. Remove the broth and put in an oil separator. Let the oxtail cool while you heat a pan over medium heat with olive oil, onion, and carrots. Add salt and stir while the veggies took for 10 or so minutes.

Move the beef broth and oxtail back to the main pot and add in ginger, cabbage, tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaves, sea salt and pepper, and sugar. Let simmer for 35 minutes or until veggies are tender. Spoon the soup into bowls and top with sour cream.

Authentic Korean Oxtail Soup

Korean oxtail soup is nothing like its British or Chinese equivalents. That is because the Korean version is super, super plain. This is a minimalist soup that is often served as a side and not the main course dish. But don’t get us wrong, this variant definitely holds its own when compared to the others. Just make sure you pair this soup with an entree.

Ingredients

Here’s everything you will need to make your Korean oxtail soup:

  • 4 lbs. Oxtail, on bone
  • 2 green onion, chopped
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

This recipe is a bit more complicated than the meager ingredients list will have you believe. That’s mostly because this recipe is focused mostly on the flavors captured in the oxtail bone, and especially its marrow.

To start, let the oxtail soak in water for an hour, and change the water halfway through. Then, cut off any fat or hanging skin that’s attached to the bones before throwing them in a pot with water so that they are all covered. Then, boil and 5 minutes. Once the time has elapsed, drain the water.

Fill the pot with water roughly 3 times the amount previously used. Once again, bring to a boil with the lid on. Let simmer for 6 hours on low heat.

Remove the oxtail from the pot. Once they are cool, strip the meat off of the bones and throw the meat in the broth before storing in the fridge. Put the bones back in the pot and pour water back into the poor and simmer once again for 6 hours. Then, drain the liquid and mix it with the first batch before chilling overnight.

In the morning, skim off the layer of fat at the top. Solidified bone marrow will be resting at the bottom. Let the pot simmer for 5-10 minutes before stirring and spooning into bowls. Serve warm with green onion garnish. We recommend pairing this dish with kimchi and other traditional Korean fares.

Spicy Indonesian Oxtail Soup   

This is our personal favorite variety of oxtail soup. Known in Indonesia as “Sop Buntot”, this complex dish is a favorite in many corners of the world. This variety is rich, deeply flavorful, and is best served with a side of onion rings. Yup, onion rings. Once you’ve tried all the other varieties, we strongly recommend giving the Indonesian oxtail soup a try.

oxtail soup in indonesia

Ingredients

Here’s everything you will need to whip up Indonesian oxtail soup:

  • 4 shallots, halved and peeled
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 small piece of ginger, sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 4 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 tsp nutmeg, ground
  • ½ tsp cinnamon, ground
  • 4 lbs. Oxtails
  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • 3 celery stalks, thinly cut
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 3 russet potatoes, chunked
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, wedged
  • 1 can fried onions (2.8 oz.)

Instructions

Begin by combining the shallots, quartered onions, chopped ginger, and garlic. Place in a food processor and blend to paste. In a large pot, heat the canola oil and stir in the cloves, nutmeg, and ground cinnamon until they become aromatic. Then, add in the shallot paste and fry until browned, or for 3 or 4 minutes on medium heat.

Toss in the oxtails and stir repeatedly. Make sure oxtails are entirely covered with paste and seasonings. Let the oxtails brown for about 5 or 6 minutes. Then, stir in the last of the onions, carrots, and celery stalks. Add more water so that all ingredients are covered by at least a couple of inches. Bring a pot to a boil, cover, and simmer for 5 or 6 hours.

Add in the pepper, sea salt, potatoes and carrots to the pot. Simmer the soup until the vegetables are tender (approx. 15 minutes) before adding in the brown sugar and fish sauce. Stir thoroughly before spooning into bowls with fried onions and tomato garnish.

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