Oxtails! My oh my how I love thee.
We grew up with oxtail stew, a deeply rich, hearty stew perfect for cold days. You don't find them that often in the market, so when they appear I'll usually pick up a few pounds.
The oxtail is the tail of a steer, usually cut into segments. It is a flavorful, tough cut, perfect for slow braising in stews or soups, well marbled with fat, and here's the best part, the bones have a ton of collagen, so good for making a gelatinous stock.
Oxtail soup is served all over Hawaii. Unlike the thick and hearty stew I grew up with, the Hawaiian soup is relatively light (a blessing post holidays), with a thin broth and seasonings from ginger, star anise, orange, green onions, and cilantro.
Peanuts make an appearance too. What a combination! The flavors just sparkle.
By the way, although oxtails are often hard to find at regular markets, Costco often carries them.
Hawaiian Oxtail Soup
An odd ingredient, one that isn't readily accessible in the stores around here at least, is dried orange peel. (Apparently you can buy it pretty easily in Hawaii.)
What I did for this ingredient is I used a vegetable peeler to strip off a long strip of peel (just the zest) from an orange. This I set on a shelf in my kitchen for a week to dry out. It worked great!
I wondered why one would use the dried and not fresh orange peel and I think perhaps it's because of the long cook time; maybe the dried peel holds up better to long cooking?
If I didn't think ahead to dry the peel, I would just use a couple teaspoons of orange zest instead.
2 pounds oxtails
1 strip dried orange peel (zest, not the pith), see recipe note
2 whole star anise
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced
Salt, at least 1 tablespoon, more to taste
1/2 cup shelled and skinned raw peanuts (can sub roasted unsalted peanuts)
1/8 teaspoon chili pepper flakes (or more to taste)
A handful of fresh mustard greens, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups, loosely packed)
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Green onions, white and green parts, sliced on diagonal
Freshly grated ginger
Parboil the oxtails, trim of excess fat:
Bring a large pot (5-quart), half filled with water, to a boil. Add the oxtails. Parboil for 30 minutes. Drain the pot. Rinse the oxtails in water. Trim the oxtails of any excess fat.
Simmer oxtails in water with seasonings for 1 hour:
Return the oxtails to the pot. Cover with water by an inch. Add the orange peel, star anise, ginger, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for one hour.
Add peanuts, simmer 2-3 more hours:
Add the peanuts and simmer for 2-3 more hours, until the oxtail meat is tender and falling off the bone.
At the point, you can either skim the fat off the soup and proceed to the next step, or let the soup cool, and chill it overnight in the refrigerator. The next day the fat will have solidified and will be easy to pull up from the top of the soup.
The flavors will also have had more of a chance to blend and be absorbed by the oxtails if you let the soup sit overnight.
Add chili pepper flakes, mustard greens:
Bring soup to a simmer. Add the chili pepper flakes and mustard greens. Cook for 5 more minutes, or until the mustard greens are tender.
Garnish with cilantro, green onions, ginger to serve:
Serve with garnishes of chopped fresh cilantro, green onions, and freshly grated ginger.
If you want, you can strip the meat off the bones before serving. We prefer the meat served bone-in, in which case you will want to provide a bowl for the bones.
Oxtail Stew here on Simply Recipes
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 41g||53%|
|Saturated Fat 14g||69%|
|Total Carbohydrate 6g||2%|
|Dietary Fiber 3g||10%|
|Total Sugars 1g|
|Vitamin C 23mg||115%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|