If you're new around here, then you may not know this, but I love soup. It's convenient, usually made in 2 or fewer pots, and makes for great leftovers - over and over and over again. Since moving to New York, I've had more than my fair share of ramen, and it's crazy to think I've barely scratched the surface here when it comes to ramen shops (yikes). One of my favorite renditions of ramen is tonkatsu - pork ramen in a rich and fatty pork broth that's simmered for hours. Another one of my favorites is braised short rib ramen - go try it if you haven't. Lately I've made it my mission to explore broths, stocks, soups, and ramen in my own kitchen. Being the Jamaican I am, I wondered if oxtail ramen was a viable option as well?
It totally is. Oxtail ramen has rocked my world (queue Michael Jackson), and it'll rock yours too. Oxtail, if you haven't already figured out, is the tailbone of a cow. It makes for great soups and stews because the bones and cartilage are so full of flavor. The only "downside" is the lack of actual meat on these lovely bones. To this day I still remember my dad taking me to Jamaican restaurants as a kid, ordering stewed oxtail, and racing to get the meat off the bones before I did (still love ya, pops). Luckily for us, the base of this ramen soup IS the oxtail broth, which is so deeply rich and flavorful on its own that you'll soon forget the depressing ratio of meat to bones. Tip: if your butcher is slicing the oxtails, ask for them to be cut about 2 inches thick.
PS: this recipe is a 2-in-1. If you just want to make the wonderful beef stock that results from the first recipe, you can totally do that too. Help yourself and enjoy!
Serves: 2-4 Time: 4ish hours (see below)
- 2 pounds oxtails
- 3 celery stalks, sliced in thirds
- 3 carrots, peeled
- 1 whole sweet onion (skin-on)
- 1 bulb garlic (skin-on)
- 2 tbsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp cracked black pepper
- Oxtail meat (from above)
- 1 whole package fresh ramen noodles or 2 dried packs of ramen noodles
- 1/2 c sweet corn
- 1/2 c sliced scallions
- 4 sliced portobello mushrooms
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp red chili flakes
- 1 tsp sesame seeds (black are great if you can find them)
- Fill a 6 quart pot with all of these ingredients and then with (about 8 cups) water, leaving ample room for everything to come to a boil.
- Turn the stove top on high and bring the pot to a boil, covered.
- Turn the heat down to low, give the ingredients a good stir, then cover and simmer for 2 hours.
- After 2 hours, remove the oxtails, separating the meat from the bones. Put the bones back into the broth, you can simmer for a little as another hour or as long as 4 hours.
- The broth should be thick and golden-brown in color by now, Carefully pour the broth over a strainer and into another pot. *The veggies and bones are "juiced" in my opinion, but feel free to do what you'd like with them*
- In the new pot, bring the broth to a boil, along with the grated ginger, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, and soy sauce.
- Dump dried or fresh ramen noodles into the boiling broth for as long as instructed (dried noodles take about 3-4 minutes) then take them off the heat.
- In a small sauce pan, heat up 1 tbsp of sesame oil and 1 tsp of red chili flakes on medium high for about 3-4 minutes. Carefully pour into individual ramen broth bowls (you don't want to make the whole batch spicy unless everyone is down for that)
- Top the ramen bowls with pieces of oxtail meat, corn, sliced mushrooms, sliced scallions, sesame seeds, and chili oil.