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Jan 10, 2007 11:43 PM

Oxtail Soup Question

I'm going to attempt making oxtail soup. In Filipino cuisine, it is called "nilaga", although I'm unsure of the spelling.

My question is, after bringing the oxtails to a boil the first time, am I supposed to dump out the water and bring it to a boil again? Is it a slow boil the 2nd time around? Anyone know what this technique is called?

Many thanks.

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  1. Making Chinese oxtail soup once you finish the boiling and making the soup there's lots of stuff you skim off, but I wouldn't throw it away...that's where the flavor is.

    1. I don't know nilaga, but what I do is:

      1. Parboil the oxtail pieces in lots of boiling water for about ten minutes. Take them out and discard this water.

      2. Brown the oxtail pieces in oil over high heat in a heavy pan--enameled cast iron is good--until a good dark brown; don't move them around a lot, let them sit there and caramelize.

      3. Take the oxtail pieces out and add chopped veg--onions, carrots, celery, garlic if you want garlic; lower the heat and let the veggies soften, then deglaze the pan with red wine, add tomato paste if you like, put the oxtails back in, add water to cover by an inch or two, cover the pan and simmer at least two hours.

      4. Besides terrific oxtail soup (or stock) you now have tender, nicely browned oxtail chunks; brush them with whole grain mustard, roll them in bread crumbs, and bake 20 minutes at 400°. Terrific with fried potatoes and vinegary greens.

      1. You parboil it first for a few minutes to get rid of the impurities, blood, and stuff. Then rinse out the oxtails and the pan and slow boil in fresh water w/veggies, herbs, and other flavorings to make the soup. Oxtails take a good while to cook up nice and soft.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Sarah

          Get rid of the blood? Really? I've never seen a recipe that says to parboil and then rinse meat. Surely all the flavour will go down the drain? Very slow cooking is definitely the right idea though.

          1. re: Howard V

            Meats and bony pieces destined for chinese soups and stews are usually blanched before cooking, according to my recipes and family experience. I don't if I'm making osso buco or "american-style" stews. It just depends.

          2. re: Sarah

            Yeah, my mom advised me of the same thing of discarding the water from the first boil (Parboil). I guess if you don't over boil them, they won't lose that much flavor. I like the idea of browning them, then returning them to boil. I hope they don't dry out, though.

          3. I saute/pan brown my oxtrails in a dutch oven, to get a good brown on the oxtails and a good fond in the pot. Saute onions, celery and carrots in that then add all back with water/stock. bring to simmer and skim off foam. And keep skimming off foam as it arises. I really like the deepness that browning the meat and carmelizing of the veggies brings to the soup.