Pot-Au-Feu-Style Oxtail Soup Recipe

If you're well-versed in French cuisine, then there's a pretty good chance you've made (or at least have heard of) pot-au-feu. The soup incorporates beef and vegetables, making it a classic French take on beef stew. Recipe developer Eric Ngo's pot-au-feu-style soup utilizes oxtail, which may not be the prettiest cut of beef, but the rich, hearty flavor works oh-so-well in a rich and hearty soup. "I enjoy making pot-au-feu soup especially over the weekend since it takes time to make the meat tender," Ngo says. "When I want to splurge, I also add beef cheek to this recipe to make it extra tasty and gourmet."

One great thing about pot-au-feu is that, when served traditionally, you get two courses out of the dish. As Ngo explains, "The broth as the first course and the rest as a main dish." Of course, there's nothing stopping you from diving into the dish as a one-course meal — after all, the rich, warm broth will provide a nice textural contrast alongside the hearty chunks of meat and vegetables. Whichever way you serve up this pot-au-feu-style oxtail soup, there's no doubt that it will warm (and fill) you right up.

Gather the ingredients for pot-au-feu-style oxtail soup

Oxtail is the star of this show, and you'll need 2 pounds worth. "You can also add bone marrow, beef cheek, and brisket to make it more generous in protein," Ngo notes. Additionally, you'll need some carrots, white cabbage, turnips, a leek, potatoes, and an onion to round out the vegetable aspect of the dish. As for seasoning, you'll need whole cloves, whole black peppercorns, a sprig of fresh thyme, a bay leaf, and salt. Finally, you'll need some water, but that amount will depend on the size of your pot/Dutch oven.

Build the soup stock

Grab your favorite large Dutch oven or pot and add in the oxtail, onion, cloves, thyme, bay leaf, black peppercorns, and salt. Fill the pot halfway with cold water, then bring it to a boil on the stovetop. Just before the liquid reaches its boiling point, skim the top of it to remove any impurities, which will result in a clearer stock. Finally, place a lid on the pot and let the stock simmer on a low heat for 2 hours.

Prep the vegetables

As the stock simmers, you can turn your attention to the vegetables. Wash and peel the vegetables, then chop the potatoes, carrots, and turnips into even medium-sized pieces. The cabbage quarter and leek will go in whole, so you don't need to worry about chopping those.

Add the vegetables to the soup and simmer

Once the initial 2-hour simmering period is up, check to see if the oxtail is tender. If not, go ahead and continue simmering for another 30 minutes to 1 hour. If the meat is tender, go ahead and add in the chopped carrots, turnips, and potatoes, along with the leek and quarter of a cabbage. Place the lid back on the pot and allow the soup to simmer for another 45 minutes.

Serve the oxtail pot-au-feu with some starchy sides

Once the soup is done simmering and all components are nice and tender, you're ready to serve. You could go the traditional route and serve this as two courses, or you could pile broth, meat, and vegetables into one bowl and dig in. "This dish can be served with a side of mustard or even maggi seasoning," Ngo suggests. "Rice, french bread, and macaroni are also good side dishes." 

In case you have any leftover soup, Ngo offers one final note: "Leftovers can be kept for another 2 days in the refrigerator."

Pot-Au-Feu-Style Oxtail Soup Recipe
5 from 25 ratings
Learn how to make this filling, lightly seasoned soup packed with vegetables and tender oxtail that are simmered slowly and served as a hearty two-course meal.
Prep Time
Cook Time
pot au feu in dutch oven
Total time: 3 hours
  • 2 pounds oxtail
  • 1 onion
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 10 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 white potatoes
  • 2 turnips
  • ¼ white cabbage
  • 1 leek
  1. Fill a large Dutch oven or pot halfway with cold water. Add in the oxtail, onion, cloves, thyme, bay leaf, black pepper, and salt. Bring to a boil. Before the boiling point is reached, skim impurities from the stock to keep it clear.
  2. Cover with a lid and cook on low heat for 2 hours.
  3. Wash and peel the vegetables.
  4. Cut the carrots, potatoes, and turnips into even medium-sized chunks.
  5. Once 2 hours pass, check to see if the meat is tender. If not, continue to cook for another 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  6. If the meat is tender, add the vegetables and continue simmering on low heat with the lid on for 45 minutes.
  7. Serve right away.
Calories per Serving 921
Total Fat 55.7 g
Saturated Fat 22.3 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 199.6 mg
Total Carbohydrates 43.0 g
Dietary Fiber 8.6 g
Total Sugars 10.4 g
Sodium 1,529.2 mg
Protein 61.0 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Rate this recipe