This is a really nice and pretty easy recipe that I've picked up from my husband and his family. It is one of my favourite winter soups, and I had some the other day. When I was pregnant over winter last year all I wanted was a big bowl of this, unfortunately my favourite green vege accompaniments would make me sick. It takes a long time to cook, so either start in the morning or the day before.
You need some oxtail (often found in the smallgoods section of the butchery, or in beef). A mixture of big and small pieces is nice. We normally have about two big pieces and two small pieces per person. If you purchase from a butcher or over the counter, get them to trim off the fat.
Trim off as much fat as you can. It is sometimes easiest to do this if the oxtail has been in the freezer for an hour or so. Put the oxtail in a large stockpot and cover with water or chicken stock. The oxtail will be cooking for a long time, creating its own delicious beef stock so doesn't really need chicken stock. Bring to the boil, then simmer for at least four hours. You can also do this in a slow cooker on high for about eight hours. Your aim is for falling of the bone meat.
Oxtail is fatty, so I consider this next step essential. Let the soup and oxtail cool down, then put in the fridge. My fridge is too small for my stockpot so I put it in a long tupperware container. The soup should set (there is a lot of cartilage in oxtail) and the fat will harden on the top of the soup. Scoop it off and chuck away. Put the stock and oxtail back into a large pot and start simmering again. Put a small amount of the soup into a small saucepan and cook some noodles in it. Anything works - I like rice noodles or small thin egg noodles. My daughter had alphabet noodles when we ate this over the weekend. Add in some delicious chopped up veges. I really like bok choi, spring onion and broccoli. Choi sum, mushrooms, green beans and mung beans are also popular additions.
If you are drinking this soup because you are feeling sick, I like to grate over some ginger, and add a teaspoon of soy sauce to each bowl of soup. Yum.