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.
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
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.
© 1998 Alastair Little and Richard Whittington estate. All rights reserved.