Weekend Oxtail Soup

As a kid, Heinz Oxtail Soup was one of my favourite things to eat. It’s been a long time since I’ve had it (it’s unavailable in the US) — and it probably wouldn’t taste nearly as good as I remember it anyway — but I have never forgotten that sense of comfort it provided. And so, feeling a bit nostalgic, I decided to have a go at making my own —  a version more suited to my grown up self.

It’s not the simplest or quickest of recipes as it needs to be made over a couple of days (hence weekend oxtail soup!) but it’s certainly not difficult and is mostly hands off time, making it perfectly suited for a cold or wet weekend when you’re just hanging out at home.

The first step is to braise the oxtails for a few hours until the meat falls off the bone while at the same time adding lots of flavour to beef broth with the addition of vegetables and herbs to make the broth extra rich

Then everything is removed from the broth and it sits overnight. Technically you don’t have to do this bit, but I like to be able to remove the fat and its just easier if it’s in a solid form.

Once the fat has been removed it can go back into the pot along with some minced carrot and onion and the shredded meat.

The result is rich and luxurious yet light and savory and for me it’s one of those soup which feels both comforting and soul restoring. And the addition of some nice, crusty bread and a glass of wine ain’t half bad either.

~Oxtail Soup~


  • oxtail – 1-1/2 – 2lbs
  • red wine – 1 cup
  • beef broth – 2- 32oz cartons
  •  onion -1/2
  • carrots – 2
  • garlic cloves – 3
  • peppercorns – 6 (ish)
  • rosemary, thyme sage or parsley, fresh, any combination
  • salt and pepper


  • onion – 1/2 minced
  • carrot – 1 minced
  • garlic – 1 clove minced
  • tomato paste- 1 tablespoon
  • worcestershire sauce – 1 tablespoon
  • beef broth – 1 140z can

Season the oxtail with salt and pepper. Heat a large pan and pour in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and when it’s all hot and shimmery, put in the oxtail and sear to a nice brown on all sides.

Pour in the red wine while the pan is still hot so it goes all furiously bubbly and scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Add the two boxes of beef broth, carrot, onion, garlic and any herbs you like. You’re doing two things here: braising the meat on the oxtail and making an extra rich stock, so feel free to throw in anything which will add flavor: celery, turnip, parsnip etc.

Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to a slow simmer and let it bubble gently for about three hours.

This is where you get to sit down and enjoy a cup of tea and a good book, puzzle away at a jigsaw or whatever else you might enjoy doing on a weekend afternoon.

After those three hours have been pleasantly whiled away, remove the oxtails from the broth. The meat should be fully cooked to the point that it will nicely fall off the bone. Remove it all and finely shred it. It will be quite fatty so I just remove as much fat as I can without being too fussy.

Remove all the large chunks of vegetables from the stock, pour it through a sieve into a large bowl and place it in the refrigerator overnight.

In the morning there will be a nice layer of fat on it which you can scrape off.

Now it’s time to move on to the soup portion of the recipe. Finely chop the other half of the onion you used for the stock as well as a carrot and sauté gently in a large pan until it softens. Add the minced garlic, tomato paste and  Worcestershire sauce and give it all a good quick stir.

Add in the reserved meat, the rich overnight broth and an extra 14-oz can of beef broth.

Bring to a boil and then let simmer gently for about 20 minutes or so, enough time to let all the flavors meld nicely and then serve, ideally with some good bread and a glass of wine.


Comments are closed.