This is a really hearty winter soup and although you may be daunted by the size of this recipe, don’t be put off as you don’t have to watch this cook. It can be left to its own devices. You can use tinned beef consommé for the stock or simply use water and a teaspoon or two of marmite or other yeast extract to give it a beefy flavour. You can also add Worcestershire sauce as long as you are not allergic to fish, as it contains anchovies.
At the end of the coking time you can strain the soup and pour it through a fine sieve, pressing down on the vegetables to extract the water, or of course, just leave them. You can also shred the meat from the bones and return this to the soup and serve. It’s entirely up to you. You can also add a dash of brandy if it it really cold, when you add the wine.
1¼ kg oxtail cut into manageable chunks, trimmed of fat
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsps olive oil
4 carrots, roughly chopped
1 celery stalk left whole
1 turnip roughly chopped
1 large onion thickly sliced
1 bay leaf slightly torn but intact
1 or 2 sprigs thyme
½ kg tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 tsps tomato puree
1.2 liters beef stock
300 ml full-bodied red wine
handful of flat leaves parsley leaves
Coat the oxtail pieces in seasoned flour and shake off the excess, then fry in the olive oil so that all sides are browned.
Remove the oxtail from the pan and set aside.
Fry the vegetables (but not the celery stalk) over a medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring.
Put the oxtail and vegetables into a large pan with the tomatoes and celery stalk, thyme and bay leaf.
Put a little stock into the frying pan and scrape off the residue and mix in a little flour and the tomato puree then add a little more stock. Stir well to mix and thicken then add this to the pan containing the oxtail and vegetables.
Pour the wine over the mixture and bring the liquid to the boil.
Turn the heat down to low and partially cover the pan.
Cook for three hours, removing any scum that comes to the top occasionally.
Remove the celery stalk and discard.
Remove from the heat and garnish with parsley leaves to serve with crusty bread for a heart-warming winter soup.
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