Oxtail stock and oxtail soups are some of the great delights of the table, with an intense flavor all their own. This stock will produce 1¾ pounds, or 5 cups, torn meat for use, along with the stock, in Oxtail Soup with Fava Beans and other soups. This stock can substitute for Beef Stock .
While stock does not have to be skimmed continuously after the first skimming when it has come to a boil, occasional skimming is an aid to clear stock. Also, in cases where the fat is very strongly flavored (lamb, for instance), skimming will prevent that strong flavor from getting into the stock. After the stock has finished cooking, it should be allowed to sit for around twenty minutes, when a final skimming can take place.
If it is all possible, the stock should be refrigerated overnight. The fat will rise to the surface and harden, making it easier to remove. The sediment will settle to the bottom of the stock. It can be removed as well. I don’t bother if I am using the stock for an earthy bean soup, but I do if I am making an elegant consommé. To separate the sediment from the bottom of liquid stock, spoon the clear stock from the top, leaving the sediment behind. If the stock has gelled, turn it out of its bowl and scrape off the sediment-laden layer. I tend to eat it. Clarification may remove it, but it is iffy.
Makes10 cups (2.5 l)
Cooking Methodslow cooking
Total Timea day or more
Make Ahead RecipeYes
Five Ingredients or LessYes
Taste and Texturemeaty, savory
Type of Dishstock
- 6 pounds (2.7 kg) oxtails, cut into pieces about 1 inch (25-cm) long
- 16 cups (4 l) water
Place one rack in the center of the oven and one in the bottom third. Heat to 500°F (260°C; highest gas mark; #9 British regulo).
Place the oxtails in two medium roasting pans. Place one pan on each rack. Roast for 15 minutes. Turn the pieces over and switch the pan positions in the oven. Roast for 15 more minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and transfer the oxtails to a tall narrow stockpot.
Pour or spoon off the excess fat from the roasting pans. Put one pan on top of the stove over high heat. Add 1 cup (250 ml) water and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom and sides of the pan with a wooden spoon. Let reduce by half. Pour this liquid over the oxtails in the stockpot. Repeat with the second pan.
Pour 10 cups (25 l) water over the bones. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer very gently, skimming as necessary (see Notes), for 2 hours and 45 minutes.
Remove the oxtails. As soon as they are cool enough to handle, remove the meat from bones and reserve. Return the bones to pot. Add the remaining water. Return to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 8 hours, skimming as necessary. Add additional water as necessary to keep the bones covered.
Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding the bones. Skim the fat. Cool to room temperature, and refrigerate for 3 hours.
Remove the fat from the top of the and the sediment from the bottom (see Notes). Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze.
1998 Barbara Kafka