Oxtail Soup Recipe

Below is the recipe as it appears in the May issue of Renaissance Magazine.  


Oxtail dishes are found across cultures.  From Northern Europe, across the British Isles, Ottoman Empire, Mediterranean, Arabic, and Far Eastern cultures have all used oxtail in a variety of dishes.  Some dishes were primarily delicacies, but secondarily offered homeopathic cures to various ailments including back and hip pain.

 The Chinese added shredded cabbage mushrooms, and carrots, among other vegetables to provide a heart stew.  Arabic and Mediterranean cultures added tomatoes and chickpeas, while European cultures, including Italy even added wine or brandy to the dish during the post-Restoration period. 

Oxtails were once inexpensive, but with their increased use in many cuisines, the price of oxtails has become expensive.  Asian grocery stores offer oxtails at about a third of the cost of main stream grocery stores. 


The dish below is hearty and alcohol was not added as I wanted to keep the dish true to its original roots in Britannia.  This is a favorite among my male friends as oxtails, when cooked properly, can take on a prime rib flavor and texture. 

Oxtail Soup

Oxtail Soup

Oxtail Soup

3 lbs of oxtails
1 lbs of beef shoulder soup bones.
2 lbs red potatoes, thinly sliced
3 parsnips, peeled and shredded
1 lbs of leeks, cut into rings
3 sprigs of rosemary
1/4 cup of butter or oil
2 lbs carrots, thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small can of tomato paste (optional)
Kosher or sea salt
Black pepper

Begin preparing the dish by adding the beef shoulder bones in a large pot with enough water to cover the bones and add 1 tsp of sea or kosher salt.  Bring items to a boil for a half an hour.  Remove and dispose of the bones and reserve the broth. 

Heat oil or melt butter in a different soup pot.  Once heated, add the oxtails to brown and slowly add the leeks and garlic; continuing to cook. Once browned, add enough of the new broth to cover the cover the oxtails by an additional 3 inches, water may be added to increase the amount of liquid.  At this moment, one may add optional tomato paste.  Let cook for 1 hour and stir occasionally.  After an hour, remove the soup bones, but leave in the oxtails.  Begin adding the potatoes, carrots and rosemary.  Cook for an additional 20 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.  

This dish is very rich and if one’s constitution prefers a less rich version, one may choose to put the soup in a cooler and remove the excess fat from the top before reheating.  Add additional salt and pepper to taste.  

Serves 6-8.

The photograph, prepared by Chris Olsen, was presented this way as it was more appealing than a bowl of soup.  Traditionally, this dish is served in a bowl with vegetables, broth, and all.

About anj68

Alice uses cast iron pots and wooden utensils and keeps the recipes as close to the traditional recipe as possible. She even utilizes a fire pit located outside her home to test authentic recipes. For more information about Alice the Cook, visit her website at http://www.alicethecook.com In future blogs, I will offer recipes, kitchen hints, and historical cooking lessons.
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3 Responses to Oxtail Soup Recipe

  1. Jane says:

    Thanks for writing, I truly liked your most recent post. I think you should post more frequently, you evidently have natural ability for blogging!

  2. Bodyc says:

    Where are you from? Is it a secret? :)

  3. anj68 says:

    Thank you for your interest. I reside in Saint Paul, Minnesota. I have ben performing at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival for over 25 years and continue to perform there (I consider it my home show). I have also performed at the Siouxland Renaissance Festival, Salisbury Renaissance Festival, and the Bristol Renaissance Festival.

    In the next two weeks, I will be posting some video demos on youtube, here at alicethecook.com and on my facebook fan page. Please let me know if there is something else you would like to see on the site.

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