Tag Archive | homemade soup

Oxtail Soup

When we buy half or one-quarter of a grass-fed beef animal, the butcher shop always asks if I want any of the extras.  They mean do I want liver, heart, tongue, oxtail, soup bones or suet.  I always ask for 15 pounds of suet to feed the hungry winter birds.  Otherwise, no to the extras.  Yet, every time I collect my blast frozen beef, there is a free bag full of extras.  I must have 15 pounds of liver in the freezer, and only the dogs eat it.  Plus there is a heart, that I will have to thaw out and saw through (heart is a tough muscle) to feed to the dogs.  This last beef order came with a lovely package of oxtail, oh joy.

I thawed out the oxtail to feed to the dogs, then decided to make soup with it since it was a nice, meaty cut.  Tail meat can be stringy, it is long, well-used muscle.  It needs extended, moist cooking to be edible and makes very hearty soup.  Some cooks roast the tail before making it into soup, but that’s not really necessary.  It will be tasty and tender with this recipe.  People will not even realize the beef they are eating is from the tail, unless you tell them!

Oxtail Soup

3-4 lbs meaty oxtail, thawed or fresh, cut in half or thirds to fit a 6 qt stock pot

3 quarts water

1 quart chopped tomatoes with the juice

1 tablespoon powdered onion

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon each celery salt, black pepper, oregano, marjoram, basil

Place all in the stock pot, bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat, simmer for 1.5 hours.  The meat should be starting to fall from the bone.  Remove the oxtail from the pot and set aside to cool.  While the meat cools until it can be handled, add to the pot:

4 large carrots, peeled and diced

4 sticks celery, diced

1 cup chopped spinach

1 cup pearled barley or farro

Remove the meat from the bones and cut into bite sized pieces.  Return the meat to the pot.  Cover and simmer for 45 mins to 1 hour until the veggies are tender.

Makes about 3-4 quarts.

Oxtail can be a fatty cut.  If it is desired to remove the fat, cool the soup in the fridge overnight and remove the hardened fat from the top.  Serve hot seasoned to taste with salt.



New England Fish Chowder



With the outside temperature around 10 degrees F, a chill begins to settle in the bones.  The best way I’ve found to dispel the cold is a bowl or two of piping warm fish chowder.  There are many variations on the New England chowder recipe.  Any fish will work.  I’ve used haddock, pollock, cod, salmon, even some pickerel I caught ice fishing.  Also good are shellfish like clams, mussels or oysters.  Once I shelled a bunch of tiny periwinkles picked from the rocks by the sea, they were delicious.  More important than the species used is that there is plenty so the chowder is full of fish.

The basic ingredients are potatoes, onions, some form of fat, fish and milk.  Some use salt pork or butter, I prefer bacon.  Most New Englanders like their chowder thick and creamy.  They use full cream, half and half, or my choice, evaporated milk.  Some use plain milk.  The cooked potatoes help to thicken the broth, as does creamed corn, flour can also be added.

This is my personal recipe, one I’ve made dozens of times.  It never fails to warm my bones on a freezing day.

Fish Chowder

1 quart water

4-5 medium potatoes, peeled and diced into large cubes

2-3 slices bacon

1 medium onion chopped

15 oz canned corn, whole or creamed

12 oz evaporated milk

1-1.5 pounds raw fish, rinsed and cut to large bite size

1 bay leaf

Pinch or so each, to taste:  oregano, basil, pepper, rosemary and marjoram

In 4 qt stock or sauce pan on medium heat, cook bacon until fat runs, cut bacon into small pieces and add onions.  Heat, stirring, until the onions begin to brown.  Add the water, herbs and potatoes.  Cover and cook about 8 minutes until potatoes start to tenderize.  Stir in corn and fish.  Cover and simmer 8-10 minutes until fish is cooked.  Gently stir in milk, cover and simmer until heated through.  Serve hot with crisp bread or crackers.  Makes about 2 quarts.