Bison Oxtail Soup


It’s been a while since I posted a bison recipe, so I pulled the bison tails out of my freezer last week. These came directly from the Kentucky Bison Company’s  slaughter house, so they were local and fresh. I hadn’t planned on buying them (I was there for their amazing bison breakfast sausage), but I saw them on the price list. I’d never eaten them, but I’ve known a few oxtail fanatics in my time. It seems like the ones who eat them really really love them and the rest have no idea what the oxtail fans talking about.

I consulted the Oracle (the Google) and found a recipe for beef oxtail soup by a seriously enthusiastic chef, Mr. Jamie Oliver.

He called it insanely good, and I believed him. Jamie has a way of sounding like your good buddy and you can’t help but want to eat his food.

I made a few tweaks to the recipe of course. We don’t eat much celery in our house, and bison is a lot bigger than beef oxtail. Fattier, too, so give them a little trim if you want, just make sure to leave some.

Here’s my update of Jamie’s recipe, using bison oxtail. I used a roasting pan and my dutch oven for this, so things may vary if you use different types of pans.

Ingredients:

  • 3 bison tails, whole
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil
  • 3 medium leeks
  • 4 medium carrots
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 allspice berries
  • 2 14 oz tins of diced tomatoes
  • 275 ml red wine
  • 1 liter beef stock

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Layout the bison tails on a roasting pan. Then brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast for 30 minutes, checking halfway. This time could vary based on the size of your oxtails.

    20151220_164914.jpg

    These were sizzling and amazingly fragrant!

  4. Meanwhile, prep the leeks and carrots by chopping them into chunks of relatively the same size.
  5. Roughly chop the thyme and rosemary.
  6. Over medium heat, add olive oil, leeks, carrots, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves to a dutch oven and cook until the veggies are soft (20 minutes).

    20151220_163431.jpg

    The beginning of every great stew–leeks, carrots, and herbs.

  7. Meanwhile, remove the oxtail from the oven and reduce the heat to 325 degrees.
  8. Add the allspice, tomatoes, wine, and oxtail. (Jamie’s recipe says to add roasting juices, but mine didn’t have any.) Pour the stock over the top and bring everything to a boil.
  9. Pop the lid on the dutch oven and put it in the oven for about 5 hours.

    20151220_220820.jpg

    It’s not exactly photogenic, but the smell is intoxicating.

  10. Let the bison cool, and then pull the meat from the bones and stir it back into the sauce.

    20151220_230856.jpg

    A surprising amount of meat came off a few dollars’ worth of bones!

This was not only my first time cooking oxtail, but my first time eating it as well. I was surprised at how incredibly MEATY these tails are. There’s a lot that comes off the bone, and the combination of this dark red meat and the marrowy-fatty broth made it one of the richest dishes I’ve ever made.

I ate most of it from a bowl on its own, sometimes with a slice of (gluten-free) buttered bread. I meant to serve it over some sweet potatoes, but I pretty much just served it alongside some fruit or veg.

Next time, I’m going to add some portabella mushrooms, since I think they’ll be a nice earthy complement to the meatiness. And some more carrots because carrots infused with bovine fat are just plain delicious.

It’s a long, passive cooking job, the perfect thing to make on those cold days when we’re lucky enough to stay indoors. Though I was making this stew on the eve of winter solstice, it was pretty warm here in Kentucky. Even though it’s been in the 70s this holiday season, a bowl of oxtails tastes just fine.

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