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Oxtail Soup
Yield: 12 Servings

4 pounds oxtail, cut into sections

1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 medium-size onions, sliced
2 medium-size carrots, sliced
1 bouquet garni
3 quarts brown beef broth
1/2 cup port wine or medium-dry sherry, such as amontillado
Salt

2 leeks, including 1 inch of green, cut into fine julienne
2 carrots, cut into fine julienne
2 medium-size turnips, peeled and cut into fine julienne
1/4 cup tightly packed Italian parsley leaves

Trim any large clumps of fat off the outside of the oxtail sections.
In a saute pan over high heat, brown the oxtail sections on both
sides in half the oil. Take out the oxtail and throw out the oil
left in the bottom of the pan.

Add the remaining oil to the saute pan and saute the onion and
carrot slices over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until the
onions turn limp.

Put the cooked onions and carrots and the bouquet garni in a 6-quart
pot. Arrange the oxtail on top. Rinse any caramelized juices out
of the saute pan with a cup of the broth and pour it over the
oxtails with the remaining broth.

Bring the oxtails to a simmer over medium heat. Turn down the heat
to keep the broth at a slow simmer and cover the pot. Simmer for
3 to 4 hours, skimming off froth and fat every 30 minutes, until
the meat pulls easily off the bone. You may need to add water or
additional broth to the pot from time to time to make up for
evaporation.

Pour the oxtails with their broth through a colander set over
another 6-quart pot or bowl. Spread the oxtails over a sheet pan
and let them cool. Discard the vegetables and bouquet garni.

Strain the broth a second time through a triple layer of cheesecloth
or a clean cloth napkin or towel that has been well rinsed to
eliminate traces of soap. Bring the broth to a slow simmer in a
clean 6-quart pot and skim off any remaining fat or froth that
floats to its surface. Add the port and salt to taste.

Pull the meat away from the oxtails. Discard the bones and any
remaining pieces of fat or gristle. With your fingers, break the
meat into shreds about 1 inch long and 1/4 inch thick.

Simmer the vegetable julienne in the broth for about 15 minutes,
until they have almost completely softened; they should have just
a slight crunch. Put the meat back in the simmering broth with the
vegetables and the parsley leaves. Ladle into hot bowls and serve.

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