Oxtail Consommé

Oxtail is an ideal base from which to make a clear soup with a terrific flavour. Drink a glass of fino with it, and call it consommé de queue de boeuf to win a gold star.

Ingredients

  • 1 oxtail, cut into pieces
  • 2 onions, topped and tailed but not peeled
  • 2 carrots, split into 4
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 150 ml/ ¼ pt dry white wine
  • salt and pepper
  • sherry glass of dry sherry
  • handful of chives

Method

Preheat the oven to 250°C/475°F/ gas 9. Begin by trimming off all the fat you can from the joints of oxtail. Put them with the unpeeled onions in a roasting tray and brown in the oven for 20 minutes.

Put the browned meat and onions in a pan with the carrots, celery and bay leaves. Cover with 2.25 litres/ 2 quarts of cold water and the wine. Bring to the boil, skim and lower the heat to a bare simmer. Cook gently for 4 hours, adding more water from time to time as necessary.

Pass through a sieve, allow to cool and refrigerate overnight. Refrigerate the meat also.

Next day, carefully lift off any fat that has set on the surface of what will now be a bowl of glossy meat jelly. Return this to a pan and bring to a simmer. Taste and season. The broth should be as clear and bright as a jewel.

Cut a few very thin slices of meat from the tail and lay them in the bottoms of warmed soup bowls. Ladle the broth into the bowls. Add a tablespoon of dry sherry to each bowl and snip over a few chives.

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