Getting some tail will always have a different meaning for me from now on. It’s winter here, and our household is kind of run down, kids have been either home sick or ‘not feeling well’, and people are tired and don’t want to get up in the morning.
This situation calls for some extra nutrition, as well as extra rest and fluids. Bring on the oxtail barley soup!!
Oxtail is actually considered ‘offal’, which is the name that describes the part of animals that are used for food but are not skeletal muscle. I think oxtail is on the fringe of offal (not awful haha) since it does have ‘meat’ and is not an organ. Oxtail is not from an ox but the tail of a cow cut into manageable pieces.
Nevertheless, the oxtail is full of good stuff, especially for those who are run down with cold and flu viruses that are going around. There is a ton of gelatin and the flavor is rich and satisfying. Plus this cut of meat is on the inexpensive side and that always is a good thing!
Tips for a good oxtail soup:
- Skipping the step of roasting the oxtails is fine for a busy day, but you won’t get as rich of a soup. For a weekday put the ingredients in the crock pot before work and you will still have a tasty dinner…
- Soaking the barley is pretty important so don’t skip this step. I soaked/rinsed a bunch at one time and put the extras in the freezer for future soups.
- Adding one fresh/raw ingredient right before serving, or in the bowls themselves is a nice addition, such as parsley, sauerkraut, ginger carrots. A dollop of cultured sour cream is also nice.
- Use whole barley, not ‘pearl’ barley. Pearl barley has part of the grain removed (similar to white rice).
I hope this recipe cures all of your family’s sicknesses this week… be well…
Oxtail Barley Soup
Rating: 3 forks (key)
Shawn will still not eat soup, unless it’s from a can *sigh*
Easy to medium
Page in NT: 209
4 pounds fresh oxtail
1/2 cup dry white wine [TNC: I used red since I had some in the freezer leftover]
1/4 cup vinegar
2 onions, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, peeled and chopped
fresh thyme sprigs tied together [TNC: rosemary would also be good]
1-2 teaspoons dried green peppercorns, crushed [TNC: I left out, used regular pepper instead]
pinch red pepper flakes [TNC: I left out, did not have on hand]
1 cup barley, roasted in the oven and soaked in 2 TÂ whey for at least 7 hours [TNC: I skipped roasting but did soaking]
sea salt or fish sauce to taste
chopped cilantro or parsley
Place oxtail in a stainless steel baking pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 1 hour or until well browned. Transfer oxtail to a stainless steel pot [TNC: I use my Le Creuset dutch oven] and pour out the grease. Add wine and a little filtered water to the baking pan and deglaze by bringing to a rapid boil, while stirring to loosen any coagulated beef juices in the pan. Pour this liquid into the pot and cover all the oxtail with cold water. Add vinegar, bring to a boil and skim. Add thyme, onions, carrots, celery, red pepper flakes and peppercorns. Simmer, covered for at least 24 hours [TNC: you can simmer from morning until dinner, it will be good but not quite as rich tasting].
Remove oxtail and allow to cool. Strain 3 quarts of stock into another pot and add soaked barley. (Reserve any remaining broth for other uses.) Bring to a boil and simmer for about 1 hour or until barley is tender. Meanwhile, pick the meat off the bones and chop finely. When barley is tender, add chopped meat. Season generously. Ladle into individual bowls and garnish with chopped parsley or cilantro.
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