Ochsenschwanzsuppe (Oxtail Consommé)
To ensure that this consommé is absolutely clear, chef Alexander Kroll of the Widder Hotel in Zurich creates a "raft" of ground beef and egg whites to absorb impurities, producing an elegant soup with concentrated flavor.
Yield: serves 4
For the Consommé Raft
- 12 oz. ground beef
- 1⁄4 cup finely chopped celery
- 1⁄4 cup finely chopped carrot
- 1⁄4 cup finely chopped leek
- 7 egg whites
For the Consommé
- 3 lb. oxtails, cut crosswise into 2″ slices
- 1⁄2 cup canola oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 8 cups beef or veal stock
- 3 ribs celery, roughly chopped
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped, plus 1 small carrot, peeled and julienned
- 1 large leek, roughly chopped
- 1 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
- 3 bay leaves
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 tbsp. thinly sliced scallions
- Make the raft: In a bowl, mix beef, celery, carrot, leek, and egg whites until evenly combined; set aside. Heat oven to 350°. Rub oxtails with 1⁄4 cup oil and season with salt and pepper; place in a roasting pan and roast, flipping once, until browned on both sides, about 1 hour. Transfer oxtails to a plate and let cool. Add stock to roasting pan, and using a wooden spoon, scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan; set pan with stock aside.
- Heat remaining oil in an 8-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat; add celery, chopped carrots, leek, and onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 30 minutes. Add tomato paste, peppercorns, bay leaves, and rosemary, and cook, stirring, until caramelized, about 2 minutes. Add wine, and cook, stirring, until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add oxtails and stock from roasting pan to saucepan, and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, covered and stirring occasionally, until oxtails are tender, about 45 minutes. Remove soup from heat, and transfer oxtails to a cutting board; remove and discard bones, chop meat into 1⁄2″ cubes, and set aside. Pour soup through a fine strainer into a 6-qt. saucepan and chill.
- Stir raft into chilled soup, and return to medium-high heat; bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, without stirring, until a raft forms on top of soup and the broth is clear, about 25 minutes. Using a small ladle, break a hole in the center of the raft, and ladle consomme, avoiding touching the raft, into a cheesecloth-lined fine strainer set over a large bowl. Season consomme with salt and pepper.
- To serve, divide oxtail meat and julienned carrots between 4 serving bowls, and ladle consomme over top. Garnish with scallions.