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A tale of an oxtail

I’ve never cooked oxtail before. Don´t know if it´s because the oxtail is exactly what it says it is – a tail, and usually I go for the bits and pieces with names that dosen´t really describe it as it is…But as a cook one should learn how to cook everything and in these nose-to-tail times (using the whole animal Fun blog about eating according to Fergus Hendersons nose to tail philosophy), it is now time for me to cook oxtail.

Oxtail is great tasty meat that is mostly used in stews, soups and as stock. The marrow gives it a very deep and full-bodied taste and with the right cooking techniques, this will be the most tender meat ever.

I decided to try ox tail soup which is a classic in the Scandinavian cuisine, where you let the ox tail simmer slowly with seasonal Nordic root vegetables and spices. No fuss, just a simple, well-cooked, tasty, juicy, meat soup.

Cook it the day before you eat it, and you get it even more flavour out of the soup, and you can, if you wish, remove some of the fat that floats to the surface and hardens overnight. Serve the soup with a good sourdough bread and a rich red wine and it becomes feast for the whole family. (maybe this is the last of the rich soups and stews, before the spring season enters my Scandinavian Kitchen)

serves about 4

3 kg oxtail
1 piece of celeriac
1 carrot
1 onion
1 parsnip
1 whole garlic
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley
10 white peppercorns
2 bay leaves
fresh thyme sprigs
1 fresh rosemary sprig
2 l of water
4 veal bouillon cubes
0,5 cups of port wine
black pepper
about 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1. Wash the oxtail in cold water, wipe dry, sprinkle some salt and fry in butter. Place in a large pot or saucepan with a knob of butter.
2. Peel and slice the vegetables and fry them in the same pot as the meat and for a minute so they suck up all the butter and fat from the meat. Add the veggies to the pan and fry with the meat for a minute.
3. Boil the water and dissolve the stock cubes and pour over the meat. Ad the port wine. Boil the soup on low heat with the lid on for three hours. Stir occasionally and make sure you have the same amount of water all the time. Have a pot of boiling water on the stove to ad to the soup if needed.
4. Pick up the meat and remove the meat from the bones. Add the meat back to the pan and cook the meat pieces thoroughly. Let it simmer on low heat for a few more hours. Season with salt, pepper and vinegar….and some ore port if you like.
Serve the oxtail soup with a good sourdough bread and a rich red wine.

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Pernilla Elmquist

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