When its cold outside nothing beats a steaming bowl of soup, and when you make it yourself the extra bonus is the inviting smell that hits you at the front door. With it being cold so rarely at the cottage (cold in southern California is relative) I had to jump on the opportunity to make this soup. The first time I made something similar we were living in Westhampton, NY during the winter, where its actually REALLY cold. Matt came home from the city on the train and walked into the smell of this rich beef soup simmering on the stove and you could see the cold and stress literally melting away from his face.
2T canola oil
2 pounds beef oxtails
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts
2 cups (1/2-inch) diced carrots
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 cup (1/2-inch) diced celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
10 cups beef broth (canned or homemade)
1 cup pearled barley
1lb cremini mushrooms, sliced
2T unsalted butter
2T olive oil
5 sprigs parsley, chopped
Dry the oxtails with paper towels and season with 1.5 teaspoons salt. Heat canola oil in a large pot or Dutch oven and sear over medium-high heat (don't crowd) until golden brown. Flip and repeat until browned all over. Take out the oxtails and reserve on a plate.
Next add the leeks, carrots, onion & celery to the the pot and cook over medium heat, stirring until the vegetables start to brown (10-12 min) Add in the garlic until fragrant (30 seconds) Assemble the thyme, bay laves & peppercorns into a cheesecloth sachet.
Now add the broth, herb hatchet & oxtails to the pot. Raise the heat and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer & cover for 1 hour. While that cooks bring 4 cups of water to a boil and add the barley. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, drain, and set aside. (or cook in a rice maker & hold)
While the soup simmers heat 1 tablespoon each olive oil & butter in a 10 inch skillet and sauté the mushrooms until golden brown. (reserving 1/2 of the mushrooms as a garnish and add the other 1/2 to the soup)
When the soup is ready take out the herb sachet, add the barley and taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Take out the oxtails and remove the meat from the bones using a knife and fork, return the meat to the pot and simmer for 10 minutes.
Serve & garnish with the mushrooms & chopped parsley.
Watch me make it below: