Oxtail soup

Oxtail soup

The Real Food of China
Leanne Kitchen

You couldn’t get more rustic, rural and hearty than this soup, a simple broth with incredible depth of flavour. After long, slow cooking the oxtail is deliciously beefy and sticky — you have to suck the meat off the bones, but by all means pull the meat off the bones, shred it, then add it to the soup. Eat this with bowls of steamed rice and pickled vegetables, and perhaps some chunks of pumpkin cooked down to an intensely flavoursome purée in nothing but some oil and its own juices.


Quantity Ingredient
800g oxtails, cut into 4 or 5 pieces
5 cm piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
500g desiree or other all-purpose potatoes, skins scrubbed and cut into 2 cm pieces
4 tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 large carrots, cut into 2 cm pieces
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Rinse the oxtail pieces in cold water. Put the oxtail in a large saucepan, add 2.5 litres water (or enough to cover) and bring to the boil over a high heat. Reduce the heat to medium–low and simmer for 30 minutes, skimming the fat off the surface every 10 minutes, or as required. Remove the saucepan from the heat and transfer the oxtail to a plate. Skim the stock again, then strain it through a colander lined with muslin (cheesecloth).
  2. Clean the saucepan and return the oxtail and stock to the pan over a low heat. Add the ginger, then cover and simmer for 3½ hours, or until the oxtail is tender. You may need to add a little more water during the simmering process.
  3. Add the potatoes, tomatoes and carrots to the pan. Cover and simmer for a further 40 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Remove the oxtail and cool slightly (if you like, pull the meat off the bones). Divide the meat and vegetables among four large bowls, ladle over the stock and serve.
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