It’s soup weather! Soup is one of the ultimate comfort foods. It’s what you’re supposed to eat when you’re not feeling well. It makes your house smell good. It’s something you can add the leftovers from your refrigerator to. Soup recipes are fun to modify to suit your personal tastes. Add this vegetable. Don’t add this one. I had some nice looking oxtails from my favorite organic farm and decided they were the perfect beginning for a pot of soup. It’s what was for dinner last night. And it’s probably what’s for dinner tomorrow night.
Oxtails – about 2 pounds
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup flour
salt and pepper
2 T tomato paste
1 large onion rough diced
2 stalks celery rough diced
5-6 garlic cloves
1 quart diced tomatoes
4 cups beef or mushroom broth
2 bay leaves
1 tsp thyme
2 carrots thin sliced
1 cup diced potatoes
1 medium rutabaga peeled and diced
1 cup fresh green beans cut in 1 inch pieces
Heat olive oil in a heavy kettle. Add flour and salt and pepper and oxtails to a zip lock bag and shake to coat. Brown meat on all sides, remove and set aside.
Add onion, garlic, and celery to the kettle and cook for 3-5 minutes over medium heat. Stir in tomato paste.
Add tomatoes, broth, bay leaves, thyme and fresh ground pepper and salt. Return the oxtails to the pan. Simmer for 3-3 1/2 hours. Remove oxtails and add carrots, potatoes, rutabaga, and beans. Additional celery and onion if you’d like.
Remove the meat from the bones and add that back into the soup. Oxtails are not very meaty but they provide a great flavor to the soup. Simmer for approximately 1 hour until the vegetables are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve up with some crusty bread and you have a perfect hearty dinner. I didn’t have any good bread so I made baking powder biscuits but crusty bread or rolls would have been better.
You can add other root vegetables to this soup like turnips or parsnips. If you add fresh or frozen peas add them toward the end of the cooking process.
TIP: So many recipes call for 1 or 2 tablespoons of tomato paste. I open cans of tomato paste, put them in the freezer for about an hour, open the other end and push the tomato paste out. I slice the paste and put each section into a zip lock snack bag. I always have tomato paste handy.