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Jamaican Oxtail Soup

Updated: May 12

Jamaican Oxtail Soup is a rich and hearty dish beloved in Jamaican cuisine and beyond. This traditional soup is made from oxtail, a bony, rich meat that becomes tender and flavorful when cooked slowly. The soup is characterized by its thick, savory broth, which gains depth and richness from the slow cooking of the oxtail, releasing its gelatin and flavor into the liquid. Key ingredients in Jamaican Oxtail Soup include: Oxtail: The star of the dish, cut into segments and typically browned before slow cooking to add depth of flavor. Beans: Often butter beans or lima beans are added to the soup for their creamy texture and to make the dish more substantial. Vegetables: A variety of vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, and sometimes tomatoes are included, adding sweetness and body to the soup. Spices and Herbs: The soup is flavored with a blend of spices such as allspice (also known as pimento) and thyme. Scotch bonnet peppers are also commonly added to introduce a level of heat that is signature to Caribbean dishes. Broth: The cooking liquid is usually beef or chicken stock, which combines with the gelatin from the oxtail to create a rich, velvety broth. Additional Ingredients: Garlic, onions, and scallions are used to build the foundational flavors of the soup, and a splash of Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce is sometimes added for umami depth. The process of making Jamaican Oxtail Soup involves browning the oxtail pieces to develop flavor before slowly simmering them with the stock and spices until the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender. The vegetables and beans are added towards the end of cooking to retain their texture and color. Served hot, this soup is not only a comfort food but also a meal that is deeply embedded in Jamaican culture, often enjoyed with sides such as rice or bread to soak up the delicious broth. The result is a comforting, rich, and complex dish that warms the soul with its blend of spices, tender meat, and hearty vegetables.

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