Uber-Hearty Oxtail Soup

Uber-Hearty Oxtail Soup on http://www.theculinarylife.com
I can’t think of a better cold-weather dish than a good, hearty oxtail soup recipe. The idea of eating oxtail might put some people off, which is a shame. The cow’s tail is full of bone and connective tissue, which provides that lovely signature oxtail soup flavor as the dish is cooked slowly over a few hours. The longer you cook it, the more tender the little bits of meat become, until they’re spoon-scoopable without a hint of resistance.

This is a bit of a departure from the traditional oxtail soup recipe. I’ve thrown in a few spices that might cause purists to raise an eyebrow, but really, this soup is a superbly warming main dish that will chase away any hint of damp winter chill. Coriander, cardamom and cumin lend their signature spiciness to balance out the beefy goodness, while a touch of cinnamon provides a gently sweet undertone that will remind you it’s almost time for the holidays. I’m actually smiling just thinking about it!

This recipe can be prepared in either a Dutch oven or a slow cooker. Regardless of which you use, you’ll be cooking this stew for about 8 hours.

A few notes: when you buy your oxtail, make sure to have your butcher cut it into 1″ segments. You don’t often find oxtail in one long piece, but I’ve seen it enough times to make this point worth mentioning. And, this soup freezes really well, so I recommend doubling the recipe and then freezing a good portion for those last-minute meals when you want something hearty but don’t have 8 + hours to simmer something on the stove.

Also, this is a nice, thick soup, verging on a stew, so have fun with it! The sizes of your vegetables don’t need to be perfect, as long as they’re big, hearty chunks.

Do you have a favorite oxtail recipe? Share it in the comments and let me know what you love about it.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Uber-Hearty Oxtail Soup Recipe - Slow Cooker Method
Recipe type: Soups and Stews
Cuisine: British
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This oxtail soup recipe is rich and meaty, with the perfect thick brown sauce that clings to the beef. It's a perfectly deliciously and hearty dish. Yield: feeds 4 people a hearty portion
  • 2 pounds oxtail, cut into 1″ segments
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2″ knob of ginger, peeled and diced
  • One 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 carrot, cut into 1″ rounds
  • 1 parsnip, cut into roughly 1″ rounds
  • 5 small red potatoes, cut into quarters
  • 1 yam, cut into roughly 1″ cubes
  • 1 sweet apple, cored and chopped
  • One 14-ounce can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • Freshly chopped parsley for garnish
  1. If you’re preparing this recipe in a Dutch oven, preheat your oven to 200°F (93°C). If you’re using a slow cooker, get it ready by plugging it in and setting it to its lowest setting.
  2. Brown the oxtail in a very hot pan. Remove to a large Dutch oven or slow cooker.
  3. Add the olive oil to the pan you browned the oxtail in and turn the heat to medium. Once the oil shimmers, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, making sure to scrape along the bottom and get up all the meaty bits that stuck to the pan while you were browning the meat. Cook the onions just until they start to brown, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir the garlic and ginger into the onions and cook for another minute, until the garlic and ginger become extremely fragrant. Pour onions, ginger and garlic into Dutch oven on top of the oxtail.
  5. Pour the can of tomatoes into the same pan you cooked the onions in again scrap the bottom to get up anything stuck to the pan. Add coriander, cardamom, cumin, ginger, salt and pepper, stirring well. Cook tomatoes over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, just until it begins to thicken, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add beef stock to tomatoes and continue to cook until it comes to a simmer. While you’re waiting for the tomatoes and beef stock to heat up, add the carrot, parsnip, potatoes, yam, apple and kidney beans to the Dutch oven or slow cooker and mix well with the oxtail and onions.
  7. Once the tomatoes and stock are at a simmer, add them to the Dutch oven or slow cooker. Give the whole thing a good stir to make sure the sauce covers everything, cover with a lid, and set to cook. For a Dutch oven, place it in your 200°F (93°C) oven and let cook undisturbed for 8 hours. If you’re using a slow cooker, turn it to the “LOW” setting and let cook for 8 hours.
  8. Serve hot, garnished with fresh parsley. I serve my oxtail soup with the bones in because I’m too lady to pick them apart before serving – plus I think the bones add to the rustic feel of the dish. If you’re so inclined, feel free to pick out the bones before serving.

If you like this oxtail recipe, check out these others:

  • A handful of great meat recipes beloved by Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook
  • Oxtail Adobo Recipe
  • Chinese Braised Oxtail Stew Recipe
  • Oxtail Recipe – Braised Oxtail in Sherry & Oxtail Ravioli in Leek-Mushroom Broth
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Comments from other ninjas:

  1. Ben says

    Love it. I love oxtails. Actually, one of my favorite parts are the little caps on the end of a full segment. I remember scraping the collagen off those with my teeth when I was a kid. So don’t throw those away if you are cutting into 1″ segments! Thanks for this unusual recipe. I’ll definitely try it.

  2. Melanie @ Frugal Kiwi says

    I love oxtail soup. Our local butcher always seems to have oxtail, which is both strange and fabulous.

  3. Kim-Cook It Allergy Free says

    We love oxtails here too! I am all about using unique parts of the animals. I just did a post recently about making bone broth/stock with chicken feet (makes for super gelatinous stock)! LOL We get all of our unique cuts from our cool butcher who does not look at me like I am crazy when I ask for the parts that no one else does! 😉 This recipe looks fab!! Will be trying this one.

    • Brensa says

      I use chicken feet for good stock too!! Wonderful for soups!

      Looking forward to trying this oxtail recipe for my hubby. :). Thank you!!

  4. Lana says

    Stephanie, this is a great variation of the oxtail soup. We have had it often when growing up, and it was the favorite. Now my children love it. I have never tried it with ginger, though. I love to experiment and try new things, and I would like to try your version.
    I have recently received a recipe (or a set of instructions:) from my German brother-in-law, but the recipe is extremely long.
    Let me know if you want me to post it here in the comments (it reads like a serial, he, he). Time consuming, but tastes divine.

  5. Carrie Oliver says

    Steph, where do you find ox tails? Or is ox tails a euphemism for the tails from any bovine critter. Thanks!

  6. MarthaAndMe says

    My husband grew up eating oxtail soup. I can’t bring myself to eat it though- kind of grossed out by it I have to admit, which I know is just silly. I’m sure it is delicious. Maybe if I come across it in a restaurant I will be brave and try it!

  7. Kerry Dexter says

    I know this is *oxtail* soup, but reading over the recipe, I was thinking this might work nicely as a vegetarian soup. too — which would, I expect, need quite so long to cook and might need some other adjustments, but I bet it could be good. What do you think?

  8. kris bordessa says

    I don’t think I’ve ever had oxtail soup! I love the combination of spices that you’re using, though, so maybe I’ll give it a try.

  9. Alexandra says

    I have never had oxtail soup, but will try this recipe. In France, I used to use oxtail for a traditional recipe for pot au feu. This dish gets cooked for hours, too. Leaks, carrots, potatoes and an onion studded with cloves. I find it hard to find oxtail here. I have to find a new butcher. At Stop & Shop, they have stopped carrying cheaper meats, parts people do not know how to use, which is a shame. So, when I find a place to buy lamb stewing meat, perhaps it will also be a source for oxtail?

  10. MyKidsEatSquid says

    So can you make this with another meat? My husband had some bad experiences with ox tail growing up and I don’t think I could ever convince him to try it again–ever.


    OMG!!!!!!!!!! I simply love oxtails, but I haven’t had it as a soup. I will definitely give it a try! It is a usual dish here in the south but a different variation is refreshing! THX!

  12. Nicoo says

    As a guy living by myeslf and working two jobs and a home based business, I don’t want to spend time cooking. Yet fast food every night gets old and expensive. This book is ideal for those of us who want to throw something together and have it ready to go when we finally get home. It begins with a description of modern slow cooking. I was still in a crockpot mindset. And he gives a lot of tips on how to properly use a slow cooker, saving me from burning up food. If you’re a chef or a fast food junkie, this may not be for you. But if you’d like more healthy, home cooked meals in less time than you now spend waiting in drive-thru lines, get this book.

  13. Tom says

    I made this oxtail soup yesterday evening . The only extra ingredient I added was Swiss chard (leaves only, no stems) that was still growing in my garden in the snow. This was one of the heartiest soups I have ever made. It requires a lot of preparation time but well worth it. I ended up cooking it all night long… after the 8 hour timer on the crockpot was over, the temperature then switched to “warm” until I woke up in the morning.


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