In Hawaii ox tail soup is quite common and can be easily found on many restaurant menus each with a slightly different ethnic influence. Everyone makes their own version of this clear broth soup by adding or leaving out certain ingredients.
I prepare my ox tail soup Chinese style, flavored with ginger, shitake mushrooms, peanuts, bamboo shoots and a piece of dried lemon peel. In my opinion the lemon peel is the magical background flavor that makes this soup so delicious. But it is important to remove the lemon peel from the soup before serving because it will be very bitter if you bite into it.
I always ask my butcher to cut my ox tails in half so they will cook faster and be easier to eat.
It takes two days to make this soup properly or any clear broth soup come to think about it. So you can refrigerate the soup overnight to allow the fat to float to the top and solidify which makes it easy to remove.
OX TAIL SOUP (Chinese Style)
3 pounds ox tails, cut in half
8 cups water
4 cups shitake water
1 14oz. can chicken broth
1 thumb fresh ginger, smashed
8 – 10 dried shitake mushrooms, soaked
½ cup raw whole peanuts
1 whole dried lemon peel
1 9oz. can bamboo tips, sliced
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
Trim extra fat off of the ox tails.
Fill a 4 cup measure with hot tap water and soak shitake mushrooms for 15 – 20 minutes or until soft. When the mushrooms are soft, squeeze out the extra moisture, remove stems and cut them in half. Place in the fridge to add to the soup on day 2. Save the mushroom water to add as part of the broth when cooking the ox tails.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add ox tails and cook for 3 minutes; drain and rinse with cold tap water. Wash pot and return to the stove.
Place water, shitake water, chicken broth, ginger and ox tails back into the pot; bring to a boil then turn heat down to a simmer; cover and cook for 1 hour. Cool to room temperature and place in the fridge overnight.
Remove pot from fridge and discard the fat that has solidified.
Place pot back on the stove and bring to a boil; add shitake mushrooms, peanuts, dried lemon peel and bamboo shoots. Lower heat to a simmer and cook covered for another 30 minutes or until the ox tails are tender; season with salt. Remove the lemon peel and discard.