Let me begin with the disclaimer that this soup took a ridiculous amount of time to make, BUT almost all of it was unattended. It’s just not my usual MO of starting dinner 35 minutes before I put it on the table.
I began by roasting the oxtails the morning before I was making the soup. Because I was making a huge batch for Soup & Bread at the Hideout, (and the next week another equally large batch for Slow Food Chicago) I used two large oxtails, about 6 lbs total, to make over 3 gallons of soup. In the recipe below I’m going to reduce this to make about one gallon (still a large amount, but it is REALLY good).
I roasted the oxtails the day before I made the soup. (425° oven for about 30 minutes). When that was done I put them in a large soup pot with water, bay leaves, and onion. (Tip -Just take off the dirty outside skin and quarter the onion. The skin adds to the richer color of the broth.) A splash of vinegar will help extract calcium and make your bone broth that much better.
Simmer the broth for 6+ hours. Longer is fine! Put it the refrigerator overnight chill. In the morning skim the fat off the top and put it back on the stove. At that time I also took out the bones, removed most of the fat and smallest bone pieces and put the meat and larger bones back in.
Scrub/peel/chop your vegetables and roast them with a swirl of olive oil and some coarse salt. (425° oven for about 30 minutes). I used celery, potato, parsnip, rutabaga, turnip, carrot, onion, and garlic but the mix is pretty flexible.
Add roasted veggies to the soup pot along with the red wine and simmer for as long as you’d like.
About an hour before you plan to serve, cook the barley in a separate pan. I recommend this because it’s the only way I can get the barley to liquid ratio to my liking. Any leftover barley makes a great breakfast cereal (top it like you would oatmeal).
- 2 lbs Oxtail and/or beef soup bones
- 2 onions
- 2 bay leaves
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- 1 gallon water
- 6 cups diced vegetables (i.e. onion, carrot, celery, parsnip, turnip, garlic, potato)
- olive oil
- salt & pepper
- 1 cup red wine
- 1-1.5 cup pearled barley (cook according to package instructions)
- Roast beef bones at 425° for approximately 30 minutes.
- Combine bones, onions, bay leaves and garlic in large pot with 1 galon of water.
- Simmer 6 (or more) hours.
- Chill overnight.
- Skim fat from top.
- Remove bones. Discard smaller bones and fat return meat and large bones to pot.
- Scrub or peel vegetables of your choice.
- Chop into ½ inch pieces.
- Spread out in a large roasting pan, give them a swirl of olive oil and a sprinkle of coarse salt.
- Roast at 425° for approximately 30 minutes.
- Add to soup pot along with wine.
- Simmer for 1 hour (or more).
- Salt & pepper to taste.
- Cook barley according to package directions and add before serving.