Substituting beef oxtails for soup bone. Need help, please.
Snow is forecast for tomorrow, so I want to make a hearty soup tonight. Went to the butcher for soup bones and there were none, so I bought beef oxtails.
I'm planning a clean out the fridge type soup: onion, carrots, corn, squash, cabbage, tomatoes....Should I flour and sear the oxtails before combining with other ingredients? I have never cooked oxtails before.
Thanks for all help!
laredo: Lucky you. You have stumbled into one of the best ingredients in cooking. With all the tail's joints, there is a lot of collagen, which makes for excellent mouthfeel in stock (compare with chickens' feet in stock). The many tiny muscles are astoundingly flavorful.
I would sear first, then simmer or braise until the meat can be pried from the little bones. Cool, pick enough of the bones for your soup and reserve the meat. Make whatever mirepoix you favor. If you have enough tails, make stock with the rest. Then complete your soup. You're in for a treat.
Personally, one of my all-time favorite dishes is oxtail soup with barley and the Danish soup dumplings called bulla.
If your intent is to make a beef stock for soup, then I would not flour the Ox Tails.....however, if your intent is to braise for a finished dish other than soup, then I would dust in flour prior to browning.
I wouldn't flour the oxtails for soup but I would cool and defat it once you've made the stock as there is a lot of fat with oxtails.
This is what I would do:
1. Make stock: Take your oxtails and add it to a pot of water with your choice of veggies and spices. If you want darker stock, brown then in the pan or roast in oven first.
2. When the meat is falling off the bone, remove tails and pick off the meat. Add bones back to stock and simmer a couple more hours to get everything out of those bones.
3. Use the stock to make your soup of choice, add back reserved tail meat.