Oxtail Soup & Yule Decorations.

This Friday some family members came for a visit and a sleepover and on Saturday they were baby sitting, while we crossed the border over to Sweden to do some shopping for Yule/Christmas.

I added spinach and green beans to the original recipe.

To save money we usually go to Sweden for grocery shopping once a month – or once every two months. Since we were already there and since we have a kid in our household now, we felt that the time was right to buy a “real” tree for the holidays. Previously we’ve been happy with our small plastic tree (one that reaches me to my knees), but this year we bought a large plastic tree (there’s no reason to chop down real trees, drag them into the house and slowly let them die before you throw them away – plastic is fine: it’ll last for many years).

The oxtail is cooked until the meat loosens from the bone (approximately 3 hours).

We’re not superstitious in this house, so we don’t celebrate Jesus, Muhammed or The Flying Spaghetti Monster. Besides, in these parts of the world, the Mid-Winter Fest existed long before Christianity came along, “incorporated” (stole) the holiday into their belief system and renamed it Christmas. Actually Christmas is still called Yule here, not «Kristmesse» which would have been the proper Christian name for the holiday. Traditionally the Yule holidays was a fest to celebrate that the sun is returning and that the days will get brighter and brighter.

Historically, in addition to celebrating the return of the sun, this time of the year was seen as sacred to the gods Thor and Frøya. Of course those Gods doesn’t exist – they never have and they never will – just like the gods of Islam, Judaism, Christianty, Huinduism, etc, is nothing but anachronisms that never existed and never will.

Anyway, enough blah, blah, blah. When we were in Sweden we also bought oxtails. Once again, here’s the recipe (this time I also added some spinach and green beans at the end of the cooking).

You’ll need:

  • 1 kg (kilo) oxtail (Come on! Use the metric system folks!).
  • 2 tablespoons oil ( I use peanut oil)
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 5 cloves chopped garlic
  • 3 red chili with (or without if you prefer it less spicy) seeds, minced
  • 1 piece lemon (juice only)
  • 1 lime (juice only)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sugar (white or brown, it doesn’t really matter. I use brown).
  • 1 crushed lemongrass
  • 1 can of chopped canned tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 ½ liter beef stock (diluted) or broth
  • 20 g fresh ginger, cut julienne (thin strips)
  • 1 x green zucchini, cut into strips
  • 1 pc red bell pepper into strips (red bell pepper, red paprika, capsicum…)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

What to do?!?!?

  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan, brown the oxtails. Take them out of the pot.
  2. Sauté (a fancy word for frying lightly!) onion, garlic and chilli in oil. Don’t let them go all brown. Add lemon grass, lime and lemon juice and sugar, mix well. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, lime leaves and broth / stock.
  3. Add the oxtails into the pan and let it all simmer for approx. 3 hours, until meat is tender and separates from the legs.
  4. Remove the bones out of the stock power, cool them down a little and set the pot aside. (Chill the oxtails on a plate in a cold window, or just on a plate – they’ll have to be cold enough so that you can handle them with your fingers.
    Pick the meat from the bones.
  5. Remove lime leaves / lemon grass from the pot.
  6. Put the meat back into soup and add the peppers, zucchini and galangal / ginger (personally I prefer using ginger, because I’m not a big fan of galangal).
    Let the soup simmer for another 15-20 minutes.
  7. Just before serving, add 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (fresh coriander).

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