Robust Ox Tail Soup

 Robust & warming ox tail soup – gelatinous & tender meat in a very tasty punchy broth

If you’ve followed my previous posts since I’ve started this blog in January, you’ll often find references to my mom when reminiscing on the things I grew up eating or the things she made for us kids. This time, I’m bringing up my dad whom I owe my love of red meat to. This is going as far back as when I was 8 or 9. Dad ordered steak, I ordered steak, dad ate mutton curry, I followed suit. In particular, there was a time when he would take us kids to the Equitorial Hotel in Kuala Lumpur for a meal on Saturday evenings and while my siblings and I tuck in on other local delights and their popular fancy ice cream sundaes (this was more than 15 years ago), dad would order a bowl of peppery and warming ox tail soup. I would eye his bowl of ox tail soup from across my plate of nasi lemak and probably would steal a spoonful or two (or even more ..hehehe) of his soup. I remember a rich broth with delicious tender gelatinous meat which at that age I would describe as ‘chewy-chewy, soft-soft, bouncy-bouncy’ meat jelly. It was incredibly peppery too but I could not figure out if it was curry powder, black pepper, a combination, or the ample amount of freshly chopped spring onion that lent the soup such sweat-inducing pungency. For all I know, it could be ‘Soup Ekor’ the Malaysian version of ox tail soup.

Our Hotel Equatorial treats were superseded by McDonalds (yeah..you read right..hehehe..) and ‘tai chow’ sessions (hello hokkien mee, yin yong noodles and fresh fried fish tofu), usually after jogging around the Lake Gardens. Nothing like greasy food to top up all that hard work eh? Hmmmm… I never paused to think about that weekly food-reward behaviour but who cares when you’re eight..you just eat! Even after swimming sessions, we would head to good ol’mackers for a sundae cone or ‘twist’ – the vertical halves of chocolate and vanilla soft-serve icecream in a cone.

But I digress. So for last night’s dinner, I originally told J that I would be dishing up French Onion Soup, but changed my mind as soon as I spotted ox tails at the butchers; these are essentially beef tails so don’t let the culinary classification put you off. I didn’t divert too far from french onion soup; my soup/stew had plenty of onions, a beefy stock and riesling to give it that characteristic onion soup flavour. It was further accentuated with butter (OH YEAH!), mire poix (carrots, celery, onions already mentioned) and I added green beans for some bite. To give it that peppery hit, I grinded in quite a fair bit of black peppercorns. The soup is then finished with chopped spring onion and flat leaf parsley. We had this with slices of french baguette that I bought for 90 cents at our nearby bakery. Dinner was so awesome that it took the fear factor away from an episode of ‘A Haunting’ documentary we frequently watch at dinner time, which freaking gives us the   goosebumps and yet we still torment ourselves nightly with them, albeit peeping between our fingers. Well this time, my fingers were occupied by the ox tail chunks and it was finger-licking good…so satisfying…BURP~~~

Foodsze’s Ox Tail Soup

1 kg            ox tails, wash and pat dry
320 g        brown onions, sliced (about 5-6 onions)
220 g        celery, diced  (about 2 celery sticks)
180 g        carrot, diced (1 medium sized carrot)
100 g        green beans, tips removed and cut into 3cm pieces
3 cloves   garlic, peeled
60 g          olive oil for cooking
80 g          butter
1 litre       beef stock (I just used Continentals)
500 ml    riesling (or any white wine of your choice, riesling has a sweeter flavour)
1 cup        water
extra salt to taste or an extra beef stock cube
black peppercorns, to taste (I added at least 1/2 tablespoon of cracked black pepper)

for coating ox tails
80 g           plain flour
2 sprigs    rosemary, leaves removed from stalk and chopped
1/2 tsp     salt
1 tsp          white pepper

to garnish
flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (approximately 1 cup loosely packed before chopping)
spring onion, finely chopped (at least 2 full stalks)

serve with slices of french baguette or any crusty bread of your choice

Method

  1. Mix the plain flour, chopped rosemary, salt and white pepper; coat each ox tail evenly on all sides and tap or brush off excess flour before frying.
  2. In a frying pan, heat up the olive oil and brown the ox tails on all sides in batches to seal the meat. Drain on paper towels.
  3. In a heavy-based pot, heat the butter; add the onion slices and cook until softened and lightly golden (about 15 minutes)
  4. Add the diced celery, carrots and garlic; cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Stir through beef stock, riesling/white wine and water; add in the ox tails; half cover with a lid and let simmer under low heat for 2 1/4 hours. (The soup/stew will thicken slightly)
  6. Stir in the green beans ; half cover with the lid again and let cook for 45 minutes.
  7. Adjust seasoning as required with salt, crushed or grinded black peppercorns or if you prefer a flavour boost, you can crush one beef stock cube in; Stir in the chopped parsley and spring onion
  8. Serve with slices of french baguette (better still if toasted with some swiss cheese 😉 )
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