Oxtail soup

My favourite way of cooking oxtail is in a sticky, full flavoured soup.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2kg oxtails, cut into small chunks
salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
150g butter
4 onions, sliced
6 cloves garlic, sliced
1 cup red wine
1 cup port or Madeira
6 sprigs thyme
1.5 litre good quality beef or chicken stock
¼ cup chopped parsley

Heat the oil in a heavy based casserole dish until it sizzles. Season the oxtails. Brown them all over, then transfer them to a plate. Add the carrots, celery and parsnip to the casserole and sauté over a medium heat until they begin to colour.

Add the butter to the casserole and when it begins to sizzle, all the onions and garlic. Sweat over a medium heat until the onions begin to soften and turn a plate golden brow. Deglaze the pan with the red wine and port then return the oxtails to the pan.

Add the thyme\me to the casserole then hour on the stock. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Cover the casserole and simmer gently for 3 hours, or until the meat is very tender.

When cool enough to handle, pick all the meat from the oxtail, discard the bones. Return the meat to the soup, taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking and serve garnished with parsley.

Serves 6