Oxtail Soup (serves 2-3 hungry souls; double reciple for a larger group/family):
1-1/4 to 1-1/3 pounds oxtails (smaller bones are meatier, less fatty)
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 large rib celery, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
2 heaping teaspoons of minced garlic (I like the jarred stuff that comes packed in oil)
2 big cubes beef bouillon
1/2 fresh ground black pepper to taste
3 cups water
1 small bag frozen mixed vegetables (I like a corn/carrots/lima & green bean mix, but use whatever you like/have on hand)
Drizzle olive oil into a 2-quart sauce pan and bring up to medium heat. Brown oxtails on all sides. Add carrots, celery, onion, garlic bouillon, pepper and water. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for about 3 hours.
Remove oxtails from pan and allow to cool a bit.
Add frozen vegetables to broth in pan and bring back up to a low simmer.
When oxtails are cool enough to handle, pick all meat from bones, discarding excess fat. (This is a messy, messy chore, best done by hand. You just can't get all the goodies free with a knife and/or fork.)
Return meat to the broth.
- If yes, remove pan from heat. Allow to cool, then refrigerate overnight. Skim congealed fat from top of soup before reheating. Serve with warm, crusty bread.
- If no, serve immediately with warm crusty bread... and softened butter.
Update: I think next time I'm going to splash a little sherry or Madeira in the pot just before serving.