Oxtail soup is one of the most comforting soups you can make; not only delicious, but also rich in protein and iron, making it a great for those moments when you need a boost.
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 3 hours 10 minutes
4 tablespoons plain floor
salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoon olive oil
1.25kg oxtail, jointed and excess fat removed
1 large carrot, roughly chopped
1 turnip, roughly chopped
1 celery stick, roughly chopped
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
a few thyme sprigs
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 teaspoon tomato purée
300ml red wine or stock
1.1 litres beef stock
2 tablespoon butter, softened
handful of flat-leafed parsley, chopped
roasted cherry tomatoes and blanched cavolo nero, to serve (optional)
• In a shallow bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the flour with salt and pepper.
• Heat half the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan until hot. Coat the oxtail pieces with the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess, and fry for 2 minutes on each side or until evenly browned, then remove from the pan.
• Add the remaining oil to the pan with the vegetables, herbs and peppercorns. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften. Stir in the tomato purée and the remaining seasoned flour, adding a little more oil if necessary. Stir frequently for another 1-2 minutes.
• Pour in the red wine and scrape the base of the saucepan with a wooden spoon. Boil for a few minutes. Return the oxtail to the saucepan and pour in the stock to cover. Bring to a simmer and skim off any scum that rises to the surface.
• Partially cover the pan and cook gently for 3 hours or until the oxtail is very tender and comes off the bone easily.
• With a pair of kitchen tongs, carefully move the oxtail pieces to a large bowl and leave to cool slightly.
• Strain the cooking stock through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan, pushing down on the vegetables with the back of a ladle to extract as much liquid as possible.
• Pull the meat from the oxtail and shred into small pieces.
• To thicken the stock, mix the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour with the butter, then whisk into the simmering stock, a little at a time.
• Simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then add the shredded meat to the saucepan to warm through.
• Sprinkle with parsley or stir through the tomatoes and cavolo nero before serving.