Since last week I was planning on making Korean oxbone soup. Unfortunately, I misunderstood the recipe and bought oxtail instead of the beef bones! Instead of returning the oxtail, I just decided to make oxtail stew instead and make the oxbone soup next week. No regrets here because the stew was delicious!
Oxtail stew with glass noodles
2 1/2 lb oxtail tail, cut into 2 inch sections
1 large onion, peeled, kept whole
8 garlic cloves, smashed
2 inch ginger, smashed
3 quarts water
3 fresh thai chile
1 tbsp black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 fresh mandarin or orange peel
4 star anise
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 cinnamon stick
4 large carrots, cut oblique
1 large onion, cut into large wedges
2 tsp hot black bean paste
4 tbsp miso
2 tbsp raw sugar
4 1/2 tbsp dark caramel soy sauce
1 cup soy sauce
salt to taste
500 g glass noodles
1 lb bok choy
3 cups snow peas, trimmed
fresh sliced chili for garnish
sliced green onions for garnish
Soak the oxtail in cold water for 20 minutes. Rinse and drain the bones of any blood.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil on high heat. Add the oxtail and cook for 10 minutes, uncovered. Drain the bones, rinsing off any scum or fat on the bones. Throw away the water and thoroughly clean the pot. Put the oxtail back into the pot with the large onion, garlic, ginger, and 3 quarts water. Bring to a boil, covered. Reduce heat to medium-low and let the broth simmer for 3 hours. Add additional water if needed, 1 cup at a time.
Remove the oxtail, onion, garlic, and ginger from the broth, reserving only the oxtail. Cool the broth and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Take out the chilled broth and carefully remove all the fat that has hardened on the top.
Make a spice bag by putting the Thai chile, peppercorns, bay leaves, mandarin peel, star anise, fennel seeds, and cinnamon stick in a cheesecloth. Bind the cloth together with twine or string. Add the prepared spice bag - soy sauce to the broth. Bring to a boil over high heat, covered. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 hour. Adjust seasoning with salt.
Meanwhile, soak the glass noodles in room temperature water for about 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Five minutes before serving, add the bok choy and snow peas to the stew, cooking until tender, about 3 minutes. Return the cooked oxtail to the stew and heat the meat. To serve, portion the glass noodles in each bowl. Ladle the stew with the vegetables and oxtail. Garnish with fresh sliced chili and green onions. Serve immediately.
Preparing this soup may seem tedious but it’s really just a matter of waiting. Trust me, the broth will be worth it.
Soaking the oxtail in water prior to cooking allows any blood to be washed off.
Boiling the bones before cooking allows the blood to cook out and any scum from the bones to be removed. The bones will feel oily when rinsing, but don’t worry since you will skim the fat off the soup later.
Three hours later, you will notice that the water becomes a murky, brownish color. This is simply from cooking the bones, allowing it to release the marrow. The broth now has great flavor from the bones and oxtail and is a wonderful base for your stew. The meat on the oxtail is incredibly tender at this point and will easily fall off the bone.
If you don’t mind having the fat in your soup you can go ahead and proceed but once you refrigerate it, you will see the layer of fat on top; not quite appetizing for your stomach!
The oxtail is so tender the meat falls right off the bone!
You can choose to use dried chili for your soup but since I had these lovely Thai chilies growing outside, I took advantage of it. Use less if you want a milder soup or none at all.
You can purchase dark caramel soy sauce at your local Asian market but I decided to just make my own instead. Make caramel by melting 2 tbsp white sugar with 3 tbsp water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Keep a close eye on it because once it starts to turn slightly golden it will brown very quickly! Add 1/4 cup soy sauce once you have caramel. Add this to your stew.
When preparing bok choy, do not cut off the stems. Instead simply cut right through the stem. Clean the inside with water to remove any excess dirt.
One hour later and you have a beautiful broth. Since I used homemade caramel soy sauce, it didn’t have the same sweetness as the bottled dark caramel soy sauce. Solution? Add more brown sugar.
Glass noodles are so thin they don’t need to boil in water like pasta. Just soak in water, drain, and pour in your soup. It should cook in the hot liquid.
I truly enjoyed this stew. The beef was just so tender and the broth was full of flavor. The bok choy added a nice crunch while the snow peas and carrots lent a sweetness to the stew. Sometimes mistakes yield great products!