This recipe is taken from the Guardian’s food pages (https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/oct/30/traditional-british-soup-recipes), where you will find other British classics such as London particular, Mulligatawny, and Cock-a-leekie by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. You have got to love the British language!
“Though this is very simple to make, you need to start cooking the soup the day before you want to serve it, so you can remove the layer of fat from the stock once it’s cooled. Serves eight.
• 70g butter
• 1.5kg oxtail, cut into pieces and trimmed of excess fat
• 2 celery stalks, sliced
• 1 onion, stuck with 3 cloves
• 2 carrots, sliced
• 1 small turnip, peeled, quartered and sliced *I used two parsnips
• 1 leek, roughly chopped *I skipped this
• 1 bouquet garni *These can now be bought in handy ‘teabags’
• 10 black peppercorns
• 300ml red wine *I skipped this
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 60-80ml sherry *I skipped this
• 3 tbsp finely chopped parsley *I used the green of the celery
Warm the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and brown the oxtail pieces, in batches if necessary, until browned on all sides. Remove from the pan, set aside and sweat the vegetables in the meat juices for five minutes.
Return the meat to the pan, along with the bouquet garni, peppercorns, and 1 ½ – 2 litres of water. Season, bring to a boil and simmer, covered, until the meat is very tender and just about falling off the bones – about three to four hours.
Strain the liquid into a bowl, cool and refrigerate. Discard the veg, peppercorns and bouquet garni. Pull the meat from the bones, discarding any skin and fat. Place in a bowl, season and refrigerate.
Next day, remove the solid layer of fat that will have formed on the top of the stock, pour the stock into a pan, add the meat and bring just to a simmer. Adjust the seasoning to taste, and simmer very gently for five minutes. Serve in warmed bowls, scattered with parsley.”
Verdict: I love this soup. It’s a bit greasy to make, and time consuming. The layer of fat is rather off-putting, but the flavours are lovely, and the soup a real winter warmer. As this was made for someone else, I skipped the wine and sherry, and also because I didn’t have any in the house
So enjoy! And thanks, Hugh!