German-Style Oxtail Soup (Gebundene Ochsenschwanzsuppe)

oxtail soup with bread

Joff Lee / Photolibrary / Getty Images

Prep: 60 mins
Cook: 4 hrs
Total: 5 hrs
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
986 Calories
65g Fat
16g Carbs
77g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 986
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 65g 83%
Saturated Fat 27g 135%
Cholesterol 295mg 98%
Sodium 557mg 24%
Total Carbohydrate 16g 6%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 77g
Vitamin C 8mg 41%
Calcium 123mg 9%
Iron 8mg 43%
Potassium 1238mg 26%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Traditionally served as a first course for big events like wedding suppers, Christmas Day, or New Year's, German Oxtail Soup is a special treat. A rich beef and vegetable broth with paprika and pepper to add a little bite and Madeira and cream to round everything out, this soup takes awhile to make but is a real taste extravaganza.

There are two main versions of Oxtail Soup, one is a clear broth with beef bits, but this recipe makes a "gebundene" version, thickened with a little flour and cream.

Ingredients

  • 1 to 2 pounds soup bones

  • 2 to 3 pounds oxtail, bones included

  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 parsley root, or parsnip, peeled and chopped

  • 3 cups chopped celery root (celeriac) or 3 to 4 stalks celery, chopped

  • 1 to 2 leeks, cleaned and sliced

  • 1 to 2 medium onions, chopped

  • 4 carrots, sliced

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1 tablespoons sweet ground paprika

  • 1 cup dry red wine

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 5 whole cloves

  • 5 juniper berries

  • 1 sprig fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

  • 1 teaspoon salt , plus more as needed

  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, plus more as needed

  • 1 ounce dry sherry , or Madeira

  • 1 dash cayenne pepper, optional

  • 3/4 cup cream

  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, or brown rice flour

  • 1 tablespoon parsley, fresh or dried, optional garnish

  • Baguette, optional for serving

Steps to Make It

At least 6 hours before serving or the day before serving:

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Wash soup bones and oxtail bones free of any debris and pat dry. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or skillet and brown bones with meat on all sides at medium heat.

  3. Meanwhile, clean and chop your vegetables. If you can't find parsley root, celeriac, and leeks, increase the celery, onions, and carrots to make 6 cups of chopped vegetables. These are to flavor the strong, beef broth and will be discarded later.

  4. Remove the beef from the pan, add oil if necessary and brown the vegetables for several minutes. Add the tomato paste and the ground paprika to brown for 1 minute. Do not let them burn! Add the red wine and deglaze the pan, scraping up all the browned bits.

  5. If the pan is large enough, add the meat back into the vegetables. Otherwise, find a stock pan to hold all the bones and the vegetables, or split into two pots to simmer.

  6. Add the whole herbs and spices and one teaspoon of salt and some ground pepper. Add water to cover everything and let the broth simmer for 2 to 4 hours or more on the lowest setting on your stove.

Two Hours Before Serving:

  1. When the meat is fork tender, remove the bones to a platter to cool.

  2. Pour the broth through a strainer and discard the vegetables. You should have 6 to 8 cups of broth.

  3. Cool the broth and remove the layer of fat on the top. This can also be done overnight, making this a good soup to make ahead and finish just before serving.

  4. When the bones are cool enough to handle, remove the meat and chop into bite-sized pieces. Discard the rest of the bones and cartilage. Refrigerate shredded meat until the last step.

One Half Hour Before Serving:

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Reheat the broth gently on the stove. Add 2 tablespoons of Madeira or dry sherry. Add some freshly ground pepper and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Add salt to taste, 1/2 teaspoon at a time.

  3. Mix a few tablespoons of cream with the flour to make a slurry. Pour into the gently simmering soup, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Simmer for 10 minutes.

  4. Add the rest of the cream and the meat. Heat through, but do not boil.

  5. Serve as a first course with a warm baguette and parsley sprinkled on top. Enjoy!