Parting the Ox and His Tail: A Recipe for Oxtail Soup

During the Great Depression, folks boiled a lot of bones. But it wasn’t as gruesome as it sounds. They were making delightful, inexpensive and nutritious soups. Oxtail soup was one of them.

A hearty dish filled with chunks of beef and fresh vegetables, oxtail soup is the perfect dish for a winter evening. You can leave it simmering all day in a crockpot, or quickly prepare it on the stove top. Either way, oxtail soup is sure to please. And at only a dollar per serving, who could resist?

Labels for oxtail and other meat soups
Image: National Library NZ on The Commons, via Wikimedia Commons

Oxtail Soup

(Serves 5)

1 pound beef oxtail
6 potatoes, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 Roma (plum) tomatoes, quartered
6 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1/2 medium head cabbage, chopped
4 cubes beef bouillon
ground black pepper to taste


In a large stock pot add oxtail, potatoes, onion, tomatoes, celery, carrots, and cabbage. Fill stock pot with water until all ingredients are covered.

Stir in bouillon cubes and season with pepper. Cook over medium heat until vegetables are tender and oxtails are cooked through; the meat should easily flake off them.

Serve oxtail soup with a hearty, wholegrain bread.


Baumgarthuber, Christine. Fermented Foods: The History and Science of a Microbiological Wonder. Reaktion Books, 2021.

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