Oxtail Borscht Soup

From Glen Manzer

2015 Nov/Dec


Oxtail Preparation:

  • 10 to 12 large oxtail pieces (generally available)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 T. unsalted butter
  • 2 each, onions and carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, rinsed and diced
  • small can of tomato paste
  • 2 c. red wine
  • 1 orange, sliced into rounds
  • 1 garlic bulb, sliced in half
  • fresh herbs like thyme, sage, rosemary, parsley
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • 8 c. good quality meat stock
  • sea salt
  • black pepper


Preheat oven to 300°F. Pat oxtails dry and season with salt and pepper.

In a large oven-proof pot, heat the butter and start to caramelize the oxtails, working in batches – don’t crowd them. Remove them to a plate as they brown and caramelize, then continue on to the next batch. When the oxtails are finished, add the vegetables to the saucepan and cook until slightly coloured, then add the tomato paste and cook until slightly browned and reduced to an even thicker paste. Add the red wine and reduce by half, then add the reserved oxtails, orange, garlic, herbs, bay leaves, cinnamon and star anise.

Then add the stock, bring to a simmer and cover. Put into the oven and cook for 3 to 4 hours, until the oxtails are very tender but not falling off the bone. Remove from the oven and cool them in the liquid overnight. The next day, take the pan and heat slightly; remove oxtails to a big bowl. Strain the braising liquid and reserve it in a large bowl for use in the soup – discard the solids. Clean the meat off the oxtails and reserve for the soup. Discard bones



  • 4 T. butter
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium onions, peeled, small diced
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 2 medium celery roots (celeriac), peeled, small diced
  • 1/4 head savoy cabbage, julienned
  • 2 c. white wine
  • 6 large red beets, peeled and shredded
  • 12 c. good quality meat stock
  • 10 juniper berries, crushed
  • 2 star anise
  • sage, rosemary, thyme
  • sea salt
  • cracked black pepper
  • 1 small bunch fresh dill, chopped


Heat the butter in a large stockpot and sauté the garlic, onion, and carrot until just tender. Add the celery root and cabbage and cook for 3 minutes. Deglaze with the white wine, reduce by half, add the beets and reserved braising liquid and bring to a simmer. Add the reserved oxtail meat and enough of the meat stock, until a soup-like stew consistency is achieved. Make a sachet of juniper, star anise and herbs, and add it to the pot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook at a simmer for 45 minutes and add more stock if needed to keep a soupy consistency. Add the dill, cook briefly and check seasoning.

Horseradish cream: Whisk together 2 T. fresh horseradish, peeled and finely grated, 1-1/2 c. crème fraîche or good quality sour cream, salt and pepper to taste, 1 juniper berry, crushed and minced. Taste and add more horseradish, if desired.

To serve: put finished soup in a large serving vessel, and serve with horseradish cream.