Yule Preparations & Oxtail Soup


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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39 thoughts on “Yule Preparations & Oxtail Soup

  1. Looks delicious! I love oxtail soup, the meat is so tender 🙂 It’s good idea to add spinach and green beans. Thank you for sharing, CG!

    • Norway is always on the top 5 list when it comes to most expensive countries in the world, but the immigration rate combined with the fact that we’ve passed the peak of our oil production, will make sure that we’ll soon enough become a cheap country with no income and poor infrastructure.

  2. I haven’t had a chance to try oxtail soup yet but share your sentiments when it comes to Christmas trees. Our plastic one has seen 10 holiday seasons so far and should be around for many more.

    • I thought you lived in India? Is it only the cows that they don’t slaughter there? I know the cows are holy, or at least they were in the parts of India that I’ve visited.

      • Haha…and you thought right!! And since cow is holy to hindus( the majority religion in India) eating beef for hindus( I am one too) is a strict no-no…But, then again, in the metro cities people are much more liberal…and yes, I love my beef steak! 🙂

        • Beef is fantastic! I totally agree with you! It’s good to hear that you’re liberal and modern 🙂
          I remember from Rishikesh that they didn’t even sell meat, eggs or alcohol. We had to drive our motorcycles to this small strip of shops along the road between Rishikesh and the next city (was it Haridwar perhaps? I can’t remember the name) and there we bought alcohol and eggs.

          • Haha…my sympathies 😀 But, you have to understand that the areas you visited are referred to as the cow belt in India! So, eating non-veg is limited to chicken!! But, us Bengalis…we are strict non-vegetarians..and chicken is veg for us..haha! 😀 India is many countries rolled into one…if you ever visit India again…let me know… 🙂

      • Yes, they do, and I was amazed when I saw the lactose free diary department. You have a problem with gluten?

        Here, I have the feeling that many people avoid gluten even though they don’t have to.

        • I’m not one of those “avoiding gluten hipsters”. I’m a celiac, so I have no other choice than to avoid gluten.

          Here’s some trivia from Wikipedia:
          Coeliac disease (/ˈsiːli.æk/; celiac disease in North America[1] and often celiac sprue) is an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine that occurs in genetically predisposed people of all ages from middle infancy onward. Symptoms include pain and discomfort in the digestive tract, chronic constipation and diarrhoea, failure to thrive (in children), anaemia[2] and fatigue, but these may be absent, and symptoms in other organ systems have been described. Vitamin deficiencies are often noted in people with coeliac disease owing to the reduced ability of the small intestine to properly absorb nutrients from food.

          The term coeliac derived from the Greek κοιλιακός (koiliakós, “abdominal”) and was introduced in the 19th century in a translation of what is generally regarded as an ancient Greek description of the disease by Aretaeus of Cappadocia.[6][7]

          • Yes, I knew something about celiaki … that’s too bad! Doctors here, are starting to realise that it’s actually not so good that the ones who don’t have it, are avoiding it!

  3. I always at least try to be careful greeting people Happy Holidays than Merry Christmas. It’s safer to say it that way.
    I’ve try oxtail before but not as a soup. The thought of it makes me want to try oxtail again!

    • Oxtail soup is very tasty. It also makes the perfect stock, plus it’s good as meat in dumplings. It’s a versatile tail!

      Here we greet people with the words “God Jul” (meaning Pleasant Yule), it’s a heathen blessing but everyone uses it. For online/international friends I also try to use the term Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas.

  4. I had to stop by to bookmark this recipe :). Glad to see you are eating your veggies no matter what 😀 I guess shopping in Sweden is a lot cheaper!

  5. I finished reading the whole article despite my backlog :D. I like the honest and openly spoken thoughts in it. One question – does the word “yule” mean log originally?

    • There’s a whole long debate about the etymology and history of Jul on the Norwegian Wikipedia page, but when you click on the English version it leads you over to Christmas (which is not the same fucking thing!) and from there on the article just deteriorates into the whole Jesus-scam.

      Originally Jul (Yule in English) was celebrated in January, but Haakon the Good (one of many traitors who did their best to impose Christianity in Norway) moved the celebrations to the 25th of December as a part of a political process. (If you ask me the scum fuck should have been called Haakon the no-good.)

      Anyway, the philologists that have studied the origins of the word haven’t come to any consensus. I honestly don’t know the origin of the word, but none of the philologists mention the word log.

      Here’s a link to the Norwegian article with some info on the Vikings and their tradition of Drinking Yule: http://no.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jul#Etymologi

    • More from WIkipedia:
      In the Nordic countries people were drinking jul (drinking Yule) long time before Christianity was first introduced. Celebrations were added to the first full moon after the first new moon after the winter solstice. This corresponds to approximately the 12th of January.

      In Norse times people gathered to a midwinter celebration that lasted about three days. They sacrificed to the gods, drank beer and lived well. It is unclear what exactly was celebrated under juleblot. It may have been a sacrifice for good crops, for the dead, or the sun or the Festival of Lights as rebuttal to the dark winter.

      • True…I do remember it being tasty. But these days I can’t eat something that can touch my soul…and animals do that big time for me. But you enjoy !!!!

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