On Friday, my wonderful husband brought me three packs of Oxtail from the store. He "wanted to have an Anthony Bourdain experience", referring to the time on the TV Show "No Reservations" when Bourdain ate Oven Roasted Bone Marrow at Prune.
Let me first point out, all my research has shown that the dish he was thinking of was made with Veal Bones sliced open, not with Oxtail. I pointed this out but he had his heart set, so I thought "Oh, heck, if I can figure out a way to do this for him, it will be my Valentine's Day present". After all, bones are bones and marrow is marrow. Apparently not.
After trying to chop off the outside meat and realizing that Oxtail is not made for this (Read: Tail, as in vertebrae, as in little knobs of bone sticking out that are difficult to cut meat off of).
So, I decided to make a soup I have always loved and only had a couple of times in my life. Zupa Ogonowa (pronounced Zoo-pah Oh-gohn-oh-wah), or Polish Oxtail Soup. Super easy, super fatty, perfect for winter. It does take at least 2 to 3 hours to make, so since we started it late Friday night, we ate it Saturday. This would be great to make in Crock Pot.
5 lbs. Oxtail
5 quarts Water (use a very large pot)
3 Bay Leaves
20 Whole Peppercorns
2 teaspoons Ground Allspice (or can use 10 Allspice Berries)
3 Stalks of Celery
5 Carrots, Peeled
5 White Potatoes, Peeled and Diced
2 Leeks, Sliced in Half, and all Leaves washed
Salt (I like to use Coarse Sea Salt for Soups)
1/2 Stick Butter
5 Tablespoons of Flour
1 1/2 teaspoon Sweet Paprika
3-4 Tablespoons Curly Parsley
Rinse Oxtails in cold water. Place Oxtail in Large Soup Pot.
Pour in cold water. Add Bay Leaves. Place Peppercorns in a Tea ball and into Soup Pot (that is the silver ball in the picture).
Bring to a Boil and skim off the foam. (Tip: If you put the lid on during this time, the foam will climb up the side of the pot and stick to the sides. You can then use a spatula with a handheld sieve under it to scrape off the sides into the sieve)
Chop Carrots and Celery into bite sized pieces. Add to Pot. Boil on low heat for at least another 1 1/2 hours.
Add diced Potatoes and Salt (start with about 4 tablespoons and keep tasting until you reach the level of saltiness you like. I ended up using 6 tablespoons of Coarse Sea Salt).
In melted butter in a separate Saucepan, caramelize sliced Leeks. Add Flour.
Add a couple of ladles full of soup to the Leek Mixture. Stir until thickened. Add to soup. Cook until thicker. Add Parsley and Paprika. Taste and add any Ground Pepper or Salt, if you like, and serve.