Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Real Ox Tail Soup for Soup of the Month!!!

Yep! I make Ox Tail Soup. My Dad is British and its been a family favorite for years. BUT we only ate Campbells Ox Tail Soup until, I worked with a English Chef when I was 19. One of the things I learned from him was how to make really great Ox Tail Soup.  That's when I started to make homemade.
This soup takes forever. (well 2 days)...basically you first make a killer beef broth using the Ox Tails (which are really beef tails) and the next day you make the soup.
Ox Tails can be difficult to find, but they are well worth it. The marrow, the meat and the the braising all make for a broth that is much more flavorful than just plain beef bones.
First I will show you pictures of how I made my Ox Tail Soup in my new slow cooker and then I will give you my traditional soup recipe.
If you like good soup, I hope you try this one, it is a family favorite (Including my Dad who has asked for quarts of it for his birthday, year after year).

Ox Tails
1 Can Diced Tomatoes
1 C Diced Carrots
1 C Sliced Celery
1 1/2 C Diced Onion and Leek
1 1/2 C Red Wine
2 C Coffee (secret ingredient)
And 8-9 C Water
Browning the tails in hot oil. Salt and pepper while browning
Add ingredients (and 3 cups water), and bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer.
After 6 hours in the slow cooker, remove from heat, remove oxtails and let the broth cool in the fridge overnight.
Slice and Dice the meat from the ox tails. Ad to broth in pot.

Barley in the pot, next I added the meat, the de-fatted stock and

Potatoes! After 15 minutes I checked the taste and to see if the potatoes and barley were cooked. The soup needed a little more liquid I did not want to change the taste by adding water so, I added 1 1/2 cups of beef stock I had in the freezer.
After another 1/ hour the soup was ready to eat!! And it was great!

The Recipe

Ox Tail Soup


Note: This soup will take 2 days to prepare.

  • ½  to 1 pound ox tails
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 C. diced celery
  • 1 C. diced carrots
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (or 3-4 diced fresh)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Bay leaf
  • 1 ½ C. red wine
  • 9 C. Water


  1. Pat oxtails dry with a paper towel and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat vegetable oil over medium heat in a large, heavy-bottomed pot with a tight fitting lid. When oil shimmers, add oxtail pieces (without overcrowding—you will need to do this in batches) and cook until browned, about 5 minutes per side. Remove to a plate. (Note: Dusting the tails with flour before browning, will make the stock browner and thicker!)
  2. Wipe any excess oil from the pot and return it to the stove over medium heat. Deglaze the pot by adding the wine and using a spatula to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom to incorporate into the sauce. Reduce wine until the pot is almost dry, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add water and reserved oxtails along with any accumulated juices, add 1 diced onion, 1 cup sliced carrots, 1 cup sliced celery, and bring to a boil over high heat.
  4. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, partially cover, and gently simmer until oxtail meat is tender and separating from the bones, about 3 to 4 ½  hours. Check periodically and adjust the heat so the liquid does not boil.
  5. Remove oxtails to a plate and, when cool enough to handle, separate the meat from the bones and tear it into bite-size pieces. Use a fat separator to remove the fat from the broth. (Alternatively, discard the bones and refrigerate the meat. Let the broth cool, then refrigerate overnight or until the fat solidifies on the surface. Once the fat has formed a hard layer, scrape it off and discard).

Making the soup:

  1. The next day put the broth and vegetables into the pot. Bring to a simmer for 1.2 hour, until the liquid is reduced  about a quarter to one third.
  2. Add 1/3 cup of pearl barley and 1 cup diced potatoes and simmer until cooked ( 20-30 minutes).
  3. This soup freezes well

 And...Just in case you wanted it... my Beef Stock Recipe!

Basic Beef Stock

Makes about 7 cups


  • 4 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  • 4 pounds meaty beef bones, such as ribs, shin, neck, or tail
  • 16 cups cold water
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 carrot, peeled
  • 1 celery stock
  • 2 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • 1 bay leaf


  1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat and cook beef bones (2 batches if necessary), until very deeply browned on all sides, including the meaty edges. Reduce the heat if they threaten to burn. Remove the beef to a plate and pour off the oil in the pot.
  2. Return the pot to medium-high heat and add the water, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned bits. Return the beef bones, and any accumulated juices, and bring to a simmer. As it comes to a simmer, skim off any impurities that rise to the surface with a ladle or large spoon.
  3. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, and salt. Cook uncovered, at the barest possible simmer, with just a few bubbles breaking the surface, stirring occasionally, for 3 -4 hours.
  4. Remove from the heat and let the stock rest for 15 minutes. Strain stock. Cool in fridge.
  5. Next Day, skim fat off top, place in 1 cup containers and freeze.  
 If you have any soups you would like me to make heart healthy, or one you've tried and would like me to dissect the recipe and make, let me know and I'll consider it for a Soup of the Month... I always look forward trying and creating new things!!!

Monday, 14 March 2016

By Request - Chicken Gumbo Soup

We've had some requests for soup recipes, rather than send them out individually, I will post them here, that way, everybody can get them. First off the list is Chicken Gumbo Soup!

Chicken Gumbo Soup


  • 2 tsp cooking oil
  • 3 chicken breasts, deboned, cooked, diced (or 2 cups cooked chicken)
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1-6 cloves garlic (depending on how much you like garlic)
  • 4 cups chicken broth (or homemade stock)
  • 1-2 cups white wine
  • 1 (16 ounce) can diced tomatoes, un-drained (or 3 diced tomatoes)
  • 1⁄3 cup green pepper, diced
  • 1⁄3 cup long grain rice, uncooked
  • 1 cup sliced okra
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Worcestershire or Louisiana Hot Sauce and salt to individual taste.
  1. In your soup pot, heat the oil and slowly cook the onion garlic and celery until the onion is translucent.
  2. Add all ingredients, except the wine, okra and rice.
  3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Add 1 cup of wine, okra and rice and return to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the rice is tender.
  5. If the liquid gets too low, add more wine.
  6. Remove bay leaf and serve with salt and Worcestershire or Louisiana Hot Sauce to individual taste

How to make the best chicken stock in the world without spending a whole bunch of Money.

 I like to buy those store bought roast chickens. After we have had a meal, I pull all the meat off and make stock from the bones. This is a good way to get some great leftover chicken meat (think sandwiches or Chicken-a-la-king) and have a really great flavorful stock.

To make my chicken stock I throw in the bones, add a couple of sticks of large sliced celery (including the leaves), a sliced carrot (I often use those ones that are not as appealing to eat know, the floppy ones, or the baby carrots that have gone a little white), a rough sliced onion, and some peppercorns, and if I have one, a Leek (actually any old veggies in the fridge are are great).
Then I cover the whole lot with water and simmer the heck out of it for 3 hours, or until I go to bed. 
The next morning I put the whole pot in the fridge and when I get home from work, most of the fat has solidified on the top of the stock. I take that off, strain the liquid and throw the bones and veggies out. I then Freeze the stock in 1 cup containers until I need it.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Soup of the Month Club!

My sister is wonderful. When I needed support in September, she and her husband opened their home to me and gave me emotional support. And they kept on giving. Families are wonderful!
I am a great cook. Mostly it was because I started to cook when I was little, our mother hated cooking, I liked it and when I was about 10, I took over the majority of the cooking.
My first job was working in a local hotel, in their banquet rooms and I was fascinated with what the chefs made, how they cooked and how they made it. In my 18 years working in the hospitality industry I learned a lot! And one of things I LOVE to make is heathy, nutritional, low calorie food.
Its pretty easy to make soup that tastes great if you add cream, fat and salt, but for over 40 years, I have striven to make heart healthy, low calorie soup that tastes fabulous! And the majority of the time, I succeed.
Doing this takes time. I make my own chicken and beef stock and I take the time to de-fat it before I freeze it.
My family loves my soups, so, for Christmas, I decided to create a "Soup of the Month Club" with my sister and her husband as the enrollees! The first soup I made was just before Christmas and it was my Ukrainian Beet Borscht. This came from my husband's Grandmother's recipe. And it tastes fabulous. Loaded with veggies and a rich tasting broth, I don't add any cream, but let you choose to. Personally, I like mine with a little heavy cream (the same stuff you whip) rather than sour cream. I believe it came in at 135 calories per cup.
It was a bonus, because I made it for Christmas dinner for my son and I.
January was a great beef, barley and vegetable soup, for February, I gave my sister Chicken Gumbo Soup and this week, for March, Roasted Acorn Squash Soup.

I thought I would share the recipes with you each month.

Roasted Acorn Squash Soup


  • 3 acorn squash, halved and seeded
  • water, as needed
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 apple chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium tomato diced
  • 1 small red pepper, diced
  • 3 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 ½ cups white wine (I used a Chardonnay)

  •  1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch salt and ground black pepper to taste

Alternatively, ½ teaspoon ginger can be added when you add the squash too the soup


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. Put squash into a baking dish with the cut side down. Pour enough water into the baking dish to cover the bottom.
  3. Bake in preheated oven until the squash is easily pricked with a fork (about 45 minutes). 
  4. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Scoop flesh into a bowl and set aside.
  5. Heat oil in a pot over medium-high heat. (Turn heat down when you add the veggies you do not want to over brown the onion or garlic.) Cook the onion, apple, carrot, pepper and garlic until soft, (5 to 10 minutes). You can add more oil, or wine if the veggies start to scorch. 
  6. Pour chicken stock into the pot; simmer for 15 minutes. 
  7.  Add the squash and tomato and mash ingredients against the side of the pot. Add the white wine.
  8. Bring the mixture to a low simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Check frequently and if the liquid gets too low, add more stock or white wine.

At this point you can freeze the soup, or if you like a smooth soup:
·         Pour mixture into a blender no more than half full. Cover and hold lid down; pulse a few times before leaving on to blend. Puree in batches until smooth and return to pot or if you have an immersion blender, use that.
·         Stir half-and-half, nutmeg, and cinnamon through the blended soup; season with salt and pepper. Thin the soup with water if desired.
 If you make the soup - let me know, I'd like to know if you enjoyed it!!!