Saturday, January 26, 2008

Ox Tail Soup with an Asian Spin - Monthly Mingle

Usually when I make oxtail soup for Master Chow, I do it Italian-style, meaning I use Italian herbs, tomatoes, etc. This time, I decided to shake things up a bit and throw in some Asian elements, and found inspiration over at Simply Recipes and The Scent of Green Bananas.

When it's cold outside, (and inside - we keep the house at around 58 degrees F), a warm bowl of soup, a salad, and some nice crusty bread make a wonderful meal. This month's Monthly Mingle's topic is, appropriately, "comfort foods." Oxtail soup is very popular in Hawaii, parts of Latin America, Spain, and Italy, and Master Chow is quite fond of it. Back in the old days, oxtails were quite inexpensive, but now they are pricey, indeed. When I find them on sale, which is hardly ever, I pounce, and whip up a big pot of soup for Master Chow.

This recipe provides a rough guideline of what I do - every time I make the soup, I change things a bit, including the seasonings. It all depends upon what I have on hand, and my mood. The key is to taste as you go along, and adjust the flavorings to suit your palate.

Oxtail Soup
5-6 lbs oxtails
2 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
kosher salt and pepper

Coat the oxtails in the sesame oil, plus some salt and pepper, and marinate for two hours.

1 large yellow onion, chopped (about the size of a softball)
2 large carrots, diced
2 large celery stalks, diced
5 lemongrass stalks, tender bottom part only, cut and crushed
1 piece fresh ginger (approx. 3-inches), thinly sliced
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons Thai red chili paste
8 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups of red wine
2 star anise
3 bay leaves
4 cups beef stock
2-4 cup water
kosher salt and pepper, to taste
Vegetable oil

To garnish: chopped green onions, mushrooms, lime wedges, cilantro.

This recipe takes two days, so plan ahead!
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Pour some vegetable oil into a large Dutch oven (I used a 12 qt.), enough to coat the bottom. Brown the oxtails in batches (don't crowd the pan), and set aside. You want about 1/4 cup of oil in the bottom of the pan before you go on to the next step, so pour off any excess, or add some more oil if you need it.

On medium low heat, add the onion, carrots, celery, ginger, lemongrass, tomato paste, and Thai red chili paste. Cook until the onions are translucent, but watch the pot carefully - if things get too hot, turn down the heat. Add the garlic and saute briefly.

Deglaze the pan with the red wine, and cook for about 5-8 minutes, or until the wine is reduced by about half. Add the star anise, bay leaves, beef stock, salt and pepper, and enough water to just cover the oxtails.

Lay a piece of foil or parchment across the opening of the pan, then push down gently so that the parchment or foil is just about the surface of the stew, but does not touch it. Cover with the lid, place it in the oven, and cook for about 3-4 hours, or until the meat is falling off the bones.

Remove from oven, and place the meat in a separate container. Refrigerate the broth and meat overnight. The next day, skim the fat off the surface of the broth - it's a lot easier to do this if you don't have to work around all the chunks of meat. Return the meat to the broth, and heat through. Serve with chopped cilantro, mushrooms, lime wedges, and/or chopped green onions

Serves 8.


Anonymous White On Rice Couple said...

Oh this looks so satisfying. Add some hot rice to it and it's comfort in a bowl. It's not often that I've seen a recipe for oxtails, so thank you for the treat!

January 29, 2008 3:49 AM  
Anonymous MeetaK said...

This looks totally delicious! Great comfy food for sure. Thank you so much for joining us at the mingle.

January 29, 2008 9:03 AM  
Anonymous Flanboyant Eats said...

I am making this weekend. Do you you know how much I love oxtail!!! For us Cubans, it's a staple.. Your's looks good. and since I have Chinese in my blood... this goes right with my Latin Fusion cuisine!

Thanks for sharing.

February 07, 2008 7:41 PM  

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