Dutch kitchen: ossestaartsoep (oxtail soup)

I am actually not sure whether this really is Dutch kitchen, but, for me it is. Until yesterday, I only had this at home, made by my mother. Ossestaartsoep is a harty soup, ideal as a starter. I think it makes a good starter for a luxury meal, and yet it is dead easy. Well, apart from one aspect: i still don’t know yet how to get the soup clear, mine was a bit more like troubled waters. I’ll have to ask my mum about that one.

Here goes for 4 persons (i kind of followed this recipe):

  • 1 oxtail (about 800 gr)
  • 1 leek, 1 big carrot, 1 big onion, 3 stalks of celery
  • 2 bay leaves, 1 piece of mace, 1/2 table spoon of thymian
  • 100 gram bacon
  • 25 gram butter
  • a big splash of madeira
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 litres of water
  1. beware, this is going to be a bit smokey. Put the butter in a big pan, and  fry the bacon until golden brown, add the oxtail and also fry it until brown. Take the meat out of the pan, but don’t throw it away. (i actually did throw away the bacon because it had gotten black after I fried the oxtail, this was no problem)
  2. in the same pan, now fry the vegetables (cut in big chunks). These also should be fried until brown, since this gives the soup the nice brown colour.
  3. Once brown: add the water, the bay leavers, mace and thymian and the oxtail. Add some salt and pepper as well.
  4. Bring to a boil, put a lid on the pan (don’t close it completely), and let the soup simmer for about three hours.
  5. After three hours, take a clean cloth (i used a tea towel), put it in a big sieve and sieve the soup. Cool down the soup completely.
  6. Retrieve the oxtail from the sieve and cut the meat in small pieces (i tried to avoid the fat as much as possible.)
  7. Remove the fat from the cold soup (if possible). Cook the soup again, taste and add salt and pepper if necessary, when cooking add a liberal amount of madeira (about 1 dl) and briefly cook this as well.
  8. Divide the meat on four plates and pour the hot soup over it. Serve immediately.
  9. Enjoy!
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