Twenty years ago when I was going to visit Mexico for the first time, some fellow experts highly recommended two obligatory things to do there: to see the famous bullfight and try oxtail soup. So, I’ve seen bullfight many times and frankly speaking was not impressed much by this action, though I’m not animals' passionate defender at all. The thing is I’m quite neutral as regards this type of entertainment. At the same time I realize this is a cultural part of the nation, huge historical heritage. However, the oxtail soup is also part of the culture, not less important and I’m truly fan of it.
living in Spain I made several efforts trying to cook this soup, going by classic recipes and the result was not that bad. But still there’s always much to aspire searching for a perfect option and if we implement the recipe, precisely the cooking method, in the modern conditions and kitchen equipment, we can get really impressive results.
The ingredients of this classic Spanish soup have never been changed:
- Beef tails (1,5−2 kg), cut by joints (you can also ask a butcher to do it).
- Onion — 4 units.
- Carrot — 2 units.
- Radish — 1 unit.
- Garlic — 5−6 cloves.
All the ingredients are cut in big pieces and finely spread over the oven tray. Then the tray is placed in the oven preheated at 250C by the mode «Grill/Convection». At this stage I would recommend to pay much attention as the aim is not to cook the products or burn them but to grill the meat and vegetables so that beautiful crispy crust appeared. It took me two times by five minutes each to do it (obligatory to turn it upside down during the process).
Look, what a nice view, really mouth-watering! This crispy crust adds a perfect color and incomparable taste to our broth. And the most important thing is that this previous grilling process helps to get rid of unpleasant original smell of the beef tails.
Next step is to put all the grilled products into the saucepan (I calculated by 5 litres, you should fix it up to your volumes).
The remain liquid on the tray is also poured into the saucepan. We add salt, pepper and bouquet Garni.
Later we add some more water up to 2/3 of the volume and cook it over low heat during 2 hours. No need to worry that lightly burned tops of the onions will turn into disgusting slimy stuff. Later we’ll take them out with a skimming-dish and throw them away.
It is worth soaking beans in advance, preferably for 4−6 hours in salted water. I used white and red beans because the variety of colors makes the taste of the soup brighter and also it becomes more pleasing. I’d recommend to add the beans in an hour after starting preparation of the soup. It really needs much time to cook well. If you’re going to use ready beans in cans, then you should stop reading this recipe and drop the idea of cooking the oxtail soup. Nothing good will come out of it.
Meanwhile the broth is being cooked, we prepare a fried mixture for the soup:
- Onion — 1 unit.
- Pepper (I'd recommend of different colors) — 2−3 units.
- Leek — 1 unit.
- Celery — 1 unit.
- Tomatoes — 5−6 units.
The ingredients are cut in small pieces, the tomatoes are peeled and all these products are fried in pan over sunflower oil until half-cooked.
As soon as the broth is ready, we add the fried mixture and cook it all over low heat during 15 minutes. Finally fresh cut parsley is added (the quantity is not limited) and the soup is cooked 5 minutes more.
The soup is ready!
It’s obligatory to let the soup saturate some extra 15−20 minutes.
The oxtail soup is considered to be a «winter» one. It is flavorful, bright and rich. You should try it.