Recipe for English Oxtail Soup


4 oxtails jointed
4 slices cooked ham, chopped
120 gm butter
4 carrots, sliced
4 small turnips, sliced
6 medium onions, stuck with
9 cloves
2 leeks, sliced
8 sticks celery chopped
1 large bouquet garni
60 ml mushroom ketchup (opt)
250 ml port
6 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon peppercorns
1 salt & pepper
1 lemon to taste
3 liter stock
4 liter water


Have oxtails cut into pieces at the joints by the butcher. Trim off excess fat from them and wash or wipe them. Melt the butter in a large stewpan and brown the oxtails lightly. Remove them from the pan, and reserve. Add the ham and the cut up vegetables to the same pan and sweat them well with the herbs and pepper corns. Return the oxtails to the pan and add the water & stock, and the halved or quartered onions, stuck with their cloves.

Bring to the boil, and simmer very gently for at least 4 hours, until the meat is really falling off the bones (Up to 8 hours or overnight is quite acceptable). Remove the pieces of oxtail carefully, making sure that not too much of the meat is lost. Separate the meat from the fat and bones, discarding the two latter. Cut the meat into chunks as best you can and reserve. Strain the soup base, and allow to cool overnight.

Next day, remove the supernatant fat, which will have solidified, and add the oxtail meat. Shortly before serving, mix the port and flour to a smooth cream, and pour in some of the soup, to dilute. Add this mixture to the soup, and bring, stirring, to the boil. Correct seasoning, simmer for around 5 mins form the flour to lose its raw taste, and serve.

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