Ochsenschwanzsuppe (Oxtail Consommé)
To ensure that this consomme 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. This recipe first appeared in our November 2011 issue along with Beth Kracklauer’s story The Art of Soup.
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.