Oxtail is actually not from an ox anymore, it is from beef. I picked mine up while at Whole Foods which usually carries them. I would otherwise ask your butcher and they will be able to track it down for you if they don’t carry it. This soup is very easy to make, requiring minimal prep and minimal ingredients. I used veal stock as the base. As most of you know I have an affinity for bone marrow, so when I have used the marrow I will save and freeze the bones until I have accumulated enough to make a stock. You may also use chicken stock or vegetable stock for this preparation.
This literally is the tail cut into cross-sections. When stewed or braised as you do in the soup it becomes very tender, almost melting in your mouth. So, out of this delicious ingredient we get a decent source of gelatin to provide an easily digestible protein and help protect our bodies from sickness through keeping our gut healthy. We also get plenty of saturated fat (healthy for us!) as well as a more balanced ratio of O-6 to O-3 fats. Not to mention, the homemade veal stock is packed with some of the same nutrients!
The first step is to roast off your oxtail pieces at about 500 degrees F. Ideally, you want to sear your oxtail pieces in the same pot that you are going to make your soup in. However, most homes or apartments do not have industrial ranges or good exhaust fans so you may smoke yourself out! To avoid the fire alarm, put your oxtail pieces in a lined roasting pan, and season with sea salt. Oven-sear at 500 degrees for around 20 minutes or until they appear golden brown and delicious (GBD).
In the meantime, cut your onions to a 1/2 inch dice. Turn the heat on high under your soup pot and add about two tablespoons of fat. For sauteing, you would want to use a fat that can sustain high heat cooking like avocado oil, bacon fat or duck fat to name a few… In mine, I used leftover bacon fat that I have been saving from past breakfasts. Not to worry though, this bacon fat is from quality bacon, no preservatives, antibiotics, nitrites or nitrates!
Once the fat in your pan gets really hot, right before it starts to smoke…add your onions by half the total amount at a time so as not to cool down the pan too much. Maintain movement to avoid burning by stirring.
Once your onions have started to caramelize add your garlic and tomato paste and reduce the heat to med-low. Stir to incorporate then add your stock and bring to a simmer. As soon as your oxtail has turned GBD, remove from the oven and add to your soup, fat and pan drippings included! From here cook at a light simmer for two hours until the oxtail becomes fork tender. At the end, give your herbs a quick chop and add to your soup if you so desire.
There will be a lot of fat on the surface of the soup by the time it finishes cooking. I would suggest skimming much of it off to reserve for future times when it is needed like breakfast eggs or sauteing veggies for dinner. I really like fat, however, I do not like to eat spoonfuls of it! If you find that it is too challenging to skim the fat while the soup is hot, wait until it is cold and the fat has firmed up.
This recipe is:
Roasted Grass-Fed Oxtail and Caramelized Onion Soup
- 6 lbs of Beef oxtail
- 2 TBSP Bacon fat, or high heat oil like Avocado oil
- 2 Large Onions
- 8 cloves of garlic (slivered)
- 2 Qts of Veal Stock (or other bone broth or vegetable stock)
- 2 TBSP Tomato paste
- Fresh Rosemary, thyme, oregano (chopped)
- Sea Salt and Pepper