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7 Soups in 7 Days: #7 Oxtail Soup

Oxtail Soup
Since this is the year of the Ox [Chinese calendar] and Chinese New Year just passed I thought I'd represent my locals here in Milwaukee with some oxtail soup. I realize that that sounds funny: Chinese, oxtail, and Milwaukee really don't go together, but for me they do and I will explain.

So, I have this friend, Duane. Known as "Daddy D" in certain circles, who is originally from Canada. I asked him and his boyfriend; Brandon: known as "Baby B" in those same circles, [who couldn't get past the "grossness" of the oxtail idea and never tried the soup! I would later find out...] to come over for dinner one night and when I asked him [Daddy D] what he wanted. He asked, "Can you make oxtail soup with dumplings?" I quickly thought **like a French person or a Filipino person** Before I replied, "I probably make the best oxtail soup you have ever had in your life!" It was on...

That night I would be cooking for men, hungry men with big appetites. My friend Max was also going to be there. I wanted the soup to be the main course so, along with my home-made french bread I served a mammoth salad. The salad was loaded with rare slices of New York strip steak, sliced grilled chicken breast, fresh shrimp, loads of crumbled bacon, avocados... get the picture? This salad was heaping high and loaded on a huge platter. We ate the salad with the first loaf of hot fresh home-made bread. We took a break, had a cocktail, and waited for another loaf of bread to finish baking before we went on to the soup course...
Here is how I made the soup:
I went to C&R Market on the south-side of Milwaukee, (any one else will have to go to your local butcher: and please for the sake of the small business owner - go to the local butcher!) and told Lisa that I needed 2 pounds of Oxtails. Then I went to the West Allis Farmers Market [Same deal here! Support your local economy: buying local produce is good for the environment!] for root vegetables. I bought parsnips, carrots, potatoes, rutabagas, onions...

When I got home I put salt and pepper on the oxtails and place them into a baking dish. I popped them in a 400 degree oven for about 45 minutes to an hour. While that was going on I pulled out a bag of veggie waste [refer to my "stock" article], threw in some beef neck bones and started making a rich beef stock. After it all started to come together I added some dried savory, thyme and bay leaves. While that was simmering away I cut my root veggies.

I place the braised oxtails in the bottom of my tamale pot [Mexican grocery store!!!], and placed the root veggies on top. Then I strained the stock and poured it over the tails and veggies and simmered it all very nice and very slow for hours. 3-4 hours to be exact. I was careful not to stir it up too much because I didn't want to smash up the root veggies! That is why I placed the oxtails in the pot first. I am sure there is almost no way that you can ever over cook oxtails.

Duane never missed the dumplings! [But trust you me... he sure did love the yum! yum!] And, a fun night was had by all!

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