An inexpensive and very nutritious soup may be made of ox-tails, but it will be insipid in flavour without the addition of a little ham, knuckle of bacon, or a pound or two of other meat. Wash and, soak three tails, pour on them a gallon of cold water, let them be brought gradually to boil, throw in an ounce and a half of salt, and clear off the scum carefully as soon as it forms upon the surface; when it ceases to rise, add four moderate-sized carrots, from two to four onions, according to the taste, a large faggot of savoury herbs, a head of celery, a couple of turnips, six or eight cloves, and a half-teaspoonful of peppercorns. Stew these gently from three hours to three and a half, if the tails be very large; lift them out, strain the liquor, and skim off all the fat; cut the meat from the tails or serve them, if preferred, divided into joints), and put it into a couple of quarts or rather more of the stock; stir in, when these begin to boil, a thickening of arrow-root or of rice-flour (see page 39), mixed with as much cayenne and salt as may be required to flavour the soup well, and serve it very hot.
If stewod down until the flesh falls away from the bones, the ox-tails will make stock which will be quite a firm jelly when cold; and this, strained, thickened, and well flavoured with spices, catsup, or a little wine, would, to many tastes, be a superior soup to the above. A richer one still may be made by pouring good beef broth instead of water to the meat in the first instance.
Ox-tails, 3; water, 1 gallon; salt, 1 1/2 oz.; carrots, 4; onions, 2 to 4; turnips, 2; celery, 1 head; cloves, 8; peppercorns, 1/2 teaspoonful; faggot of savoury herbs: 3 hours to 3 1/2. For a richer soup, 5 to 6 hours. (Ham or gammon of bacon at pleasure, with other flavourings.)
To increase the savour of this soup when the meat is not served in it, the onions, turnips, and carrots may be gently fried until of a fine light brown, before they are added to it.