Gori Gomtang (Oxtail Soup)

The weather turned cold for a brief moment here so we were thinking of different soups to make other than our usual kimchi jjigae (spicy kimchi stew). Then one day while perusing the meat section of the grocery store, we found oxtails just calling out our names. It’s not very often you find oxtail in a grocery store, so we knew that it was our lucky day. Gori gomtang is a classic Korean soup made with oxtail pieces, cooked for hours on end until the meat literally fall off the bone. It is reputably good for stamina (as most older generation Koreans believe fervently) but I think it just tastes light and refreshing, especially eating with vegetable namul banchan side dishes like kkakdugicubed radish kimchi. This is the perfect winter soup but can be particularly beneficial if you have a cold (for which I do by the way). Also, the beef stock can be made in large portions to save for other soups, which is a huge time saver in case you need something warm and comforting for future meals.

Ingredients: Serves 4 people

  • 7, 8 (3 lbs) sections of oxtail
  • 1 bulb of garlic, peeled
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced (green only)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • dangmyun (glass noodles; optional)
Directions:  

1. In a large stock pot, cover the oxtail pieces with water and bring to a rapid boil. Skim off any foam or scum that float to the top. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for an hour minimum, two hours at most. Some water may be added if reduced during this time.
2. Discard half of the broth and new water (filter or purified water recommended) to desired amount. Add garlic cloves, peppercorns, and onion. Continue to skim off any foam or floating impurities that will continue to appear. Let simmer for 2 hours and let the stove do the work.
3. At this time, the oxtail meat should literally fall off the bone (or be extremely tender to the touch). Either strain the broth through a cloth into another pot or strain directly from the pot.
4. Serve the oxtail soup with salt and pepper ready for desired taste. The meaty broth should be clean and refreshing. Sprinkle scallions and serve with rice and side dishes.

*Most Koreans soak the oxtail pieces in water for an hour to remove blood and impurities, but I skip this step since most of he oxtail pieces get cooked long enough to remove any impurities or “bad blood.”

**Koreans love eating every bit of the oxtails, including the gelatinous and semi-crunchy end caps of the bone. During childhood I didn’t fancy this part too much and gave them to the parents (which they were more than happy to oblige eating), but ironically I find myself looking forward to them in adulthood.. 

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