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!!!


  1. that does look great but the only meat I eat is fish so I tend to make vegetable soups,xx Rachel

    1. Being from cattle country, I am a meat eater. Not a lot, usually only once every couple of weeeks and that includes soup. I am mostly chiken and fish. But I love vegetable soups too. I am wanting to make a 5 mushroom soup...

  2. we are with Rachel, on the same table with the same soup lol. but my dad loves this soup he said it gives you a lot of power back when you had to deal with a cold :o) btw: I saw the himalayan salt in the back ground, what do you think about the difference between special salts and common salts? we always use fleur de sel, but I saw this colorful salts (oh the blue of the persian salt!)and would like to give it a try... what's your favorite?

    1. There is a salt shop at the local farm market here in Vancouver so I am experimenting with new (to me) salts. I don't use a lot of salt, when I cook, only for flavoring and I like the Himalayan and sea salts. Ive not tried Persian and some where I have fleur-de salt...I like it on fish..

  3. Now that looks delish..i have been not eating meat for a little while now but am always looking for a hearty meat soupie for the hubby so i am going to copy this one :) i used to have the caned oxtail soup as a kid and i bet this tastes heaps better ! thanks for the recipe my sweets and i will put it on hubbies winter hearty menu :) loves Fozziemum xxx..oh and pee ess Happy Easter to you all!

    1. This is a a good one!
      I've got some great veggie soup recipes. I'll have to make more and include them! I make a lot of soup as its a great - take to work for lunch. Salad ingredients are so pricey here in Canada in the winter, soup can be the best way to get the veggies.

  4. Sounds delicious! Oxtail is readily available here but I haven't made oxtail soup in a long time. The coffee intrigues me, does it add a distinct flavour?

    1. Heart healthy soups can taste pretty bland. Salt, sugar and fat are easy adds to make soup, stews and other slow cooked foods taste great. I learned that coffee helps make the broth brown and it brings a rich, earthy depth to the flavor and it accents the the other flavors. I use coffee in my chili too. Another trick is to add a small amount of unsweetened cocoa. In Mexican food they make a wonderful Mole using cocoa.

    2. Thank you. I will try adding the coffee next time I make a beef stew or soup.

    3. Start with about a cup. Just so you know you don't mind the taste. most people don't notice it, but my middle sister ALWAYS knows...

  5. That's right, you live in a cold climate so must eat a lot of soup, hence the soup recipes you've been posting. Sounds delicious but a lot of work. No wonder your dad appreciates some for his birthday.

    1. Its not so much the cold climate, but the short growing season. I prefer to buy fruit and veggies local, so I have lots of root veggies (still) from the fall as well as some frozen veggies. If I buy fresh at the grocery store, I feel like I am contributing to global warming as it has to be trucked here. So in the cold weather and the spring, its cooked veggies, or soup. And soup is great for a take to work lunch.


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