Our kitchen is the most used room in the house and never more so than during the long winter months. It’s also my food office. A busy space where recipes are tested and meals are shared around the table. On the far side of the kitchen is the fireplace. Keeping the fire going throughout the day is the job of anyone passing by, which happens to be me. The cold brings with it a certain charm. For us this means cosy evenings in with soulful food that’s comforting and casual, like this wintery oxtail noodle soup. It needs little else other than a rustic bread for warmth to be restored.
Soup holds endless possibilities and is a clever way of including meat and vegetables into one. This Oxtail soup requires little attention and can be left to splutter away until the meat falls off the bone. It also provides the perfect opportunity to use up a few odd vegetables. I also add noodles for a soft creaminess. When entertaining in winter, I usually make 2-3 different soups and some rustic loaves to serve alongside. I include a meat, vegetarian and chicken option. This Tuscan farro and bean soup with pancetta is often on the menu as well as a butternut option, like say, a spicy Thai butternut and coconut cream soup.
Wintery Oxtail noodle soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 700g oxtail
- 1 large brown onion, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 sticks celery, diced
- 1 medium sized leek, chopped into thin rounds
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- tomato paste
- several stems fresh thyme
- 2 parsley sprigs
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 2 litres chicken stock
- a handful of fresh green beans, cut into 2cm lengths (about 1 cup)
- 1/2 small head cauliflower, florets only
- 1/2 cup macaroni pasta
- salt and black pepper
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan.
- Season the oxtail with salt and black pepper and brown in the hot oil. Once the meat is browned all over, remove from the pan and set aside.
- Heat another tablespoon of oil and sauté the onions until soft. Add the carrots, celery, leek and garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Stir in the tomato paste, herbs and chopped tomatoes. Add the stock and return the oxtail to the pot.
- Cover with a lid and simmer for 3 hours.
- Remove the oxtail and set aside to cool. Skim any excess oils off the top.
- Shred the meat off the bones and discard any sinew or fat. Add the meat back into the soup.
- Add the cauliflower, beans and pasta and cook for a further 10-12 minutes until the pasta and beans are soft.
- Squeeze in a little lemon juice and adjust the seasoning if necessary.