When I was little, my family used to go to this nice little steak house once a year on special occasions. This steak house was the real deal in my little brain at that time because of its red and white checkered table clothes and steaks that were served on wooden board. The only thing that I remember about this place other than the deco and the serving-wares is the Oxtail soup.
This soup has a special place in my heart because I associate it with special occasions. I don't remember those occasions anymore but I sure do remember the soup. After all these years, I finally decided to make an oxtail soup and tried to recreate childhood memory.
I looked around the internet for a recipe that has some of the ingredients that will create the flavor that I was looking for. This led me to the recipe on this website: http://www.thecookingdoctor.co.uk/search?q=oxtail do check it out for its complete recipe.
Ingredients: (8 medium size bowl servings)
A) Main Ingredients
1 large onion
1 large carrot
1 head of celery
1 large shallots or 3 small shallots (roughly chopped)
2 inches of ginger (roughly chopped)
1 large tomato or 2 small tomatoes (cut into small chunks)
1.5 tablespoon coriander powder
1 tbsp ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon cumin powder
2 stalks of lemon grass, the white part only.
Two Parts Instructions:A) Roasting the oxtail (I adapted this step from the French technique of making soup stock)
1. Preheat the oven to 450F.
2. Cut the carrots, celery and onion into rough pieces.
3. Lay the cut vegetables at the bottom of a roasting pan and overlay the top with the oxtails.
4. Roast the bones for 30 minutes until the meat and bones turn brown.
B) Cooking the soup
1. Transfer the bones, all the vegetables and the juices into a large pot.
2. Add all the aromatics to the pot and add enough water to cover all the ingredients.
3. Turn the heat to medium and cook the soup for 2-3 hours.
4. Season the soup with salt
(In my case, I used a pressure cooker and cooked the soup for 45 minutes)
In my opinion, this soup came out PERFECT. It tasted exactly the way I remembered. I would say the key ingredient is indeed the top note aroma of the lemon grass, without it, it will not be the same. The middle note of the "holy trinity" of soup - onion, carrots, celery, enhances the flavor and the tomato flavor completes this dish.
Oh, did I mention the meat was "fell of the bones" tender???