OXTAIL, OPO SQUASH & CARROT SOUP

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Growing up, dinners at home always consisted of at least three different types of entrees: a meat/seafood dish, veggies, and soup. We would all eat bowls of rice and at the very end, we pour the soup over the rice to finish up our meal. The broth of Vietnamese soups is very clear and usually consist of some type of protein with veggies. I usually don’t see the combination of oxtail, opo squash and carrot, but to me it makes so much sense. The bone in oxtail releases so much flavor. Opo squash alone does not have a lot of flavor, but there is still an inherent sweetness. Carrots also add sweetness to the broth. The longer you slow cook the oxtail, the more tender and fall-off-the-bone it’ll be. My brother loves this soup and I hope you all do, too!

Ingredients:

  • Oxtail
  • Opo squash
  • Carrots (peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch pieces)
  • Fish sauce
  • Sugar
  • Garnish with cilantro and green onions

Instructions:

  1. Parboil the oxtail, first. Get a pot of boiling hot water and add the oxtail. Allow it to cook for 3 minutes. By doing this, you are rinsing out the impurities in the bone. This step will keep the broth very clear. Put a strainer in the sink and dump the bones into the strainer. Rinse off the impurities with warm water.
  2. Now, fill a large stock pot with 12 cups of water. Add the clean oxtail back into the water and bring to a boil. Once the water is vigorously boiling, lower it to low heat. Allow the broth to simmer for approximately 3 hours, stirring occasionally.
  3. You will notice a layer of fat that accumulates on top of the soup. Skim the layer as it builds and remove it from the broth. You want the broth to be as clear as possible.
  4. Prepare the vegetables. Peel the carrots and opo squash. Slice the carrots and opo as you like. I like to do thin strips of opo because it’s easier to eat.
  5. After the oxtail has been slowly cooking for 3 hours, add carrots in first. Allow it to cook for approximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Now, add the opo squash. Add the fish sauce, sugar and stir. You’ll know the opo is fully cooked when it becomes translucent.
  7. Serve and garnish with cilantro and green onions. You can either eat this alone to finish your meal or eat over rice.

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