With the help of a pressure cooker, Oxtail Soup (Hong Kong Style Borscht) can be prepared in much less time! This hearty and flavorful tomato-based soup is cooked with oxtail and stew beef, onion
Today’s recipe is the pressure cooker version of our family’s favorite Oxtail Soup – Hong Kong Style Borscht. Since it’s Mr. JOC’s favorite comfort soup, I’ve been cooking this recipe with my Instant Pot to cut down on the cooking time.
For those of you who’re not familiar with “Hong Kong style” Borscht, it’s basically an oxtail soup that uses tomatoes instead of beetroots in the classic Russian Borscht. If you love tomato base soup, you’ll enjoy this rich and flavorful Oxtail Soup during the cold months.
Watch How To Make Pressure Cooker Oxtail Soup
Did you grow up eating oxtail? Oxtail is the culinary name for the tail of cattle. Growing up in Japan, I had never heard of oxtail (牛の尾, オックステール). When I came to the U.S. and learned the word “ox” in English means a cattle, I was surprised that this particular part of a cattle is edible. I was definitely a bit uncomfortable the first time trying this meat. You should have seen my children’s reaction when I told them the first time which part of the cattle they were eating when I made this soup. Well, that didn’t stop us love oxtails as they give such amazing flavors, and the meat is super tender and juicy.
Each oxtail piece has a tailbone with some marrow in the center. There is not much meat surrounding the tail, and when there is, they tend to be more gelatinous.
Oxtails are great for making braises, soups and stews, and stocks. You might have tried the classic Russian/Ukrainian Borscht, Italian Oxtail Stew, Korean Oxtail Soup, Chinese Oxtail Soup, Filipino Kare-Kare to name a few.
Oxtail requires a long time to cook since it’s so bony and fatty. However, with the help of pressure cooking, you can minimize the total cooking time!
Tips for Making Pressure Cooker Oxtail Soup
If you have never purchased oxtails before, you will need to go to the butcher or a grocery store with a butcher counter. If the grocery store doesn’t have in the showcase, they sometimes keep them in the freezer. So keep in mind that you will need to shop at least one day before you cook this dish so you will have enough time to defrost oxtails in the refrigerator overnight.
For those of you who’re not ready to eat oxtail, you can use stew beef instead. Pressure cook for 15-20 minutes (much shorter!).
Make sure to saute onion and celery and get the flavor base going! I highly recommend using all types of vegetables I listed in this recipe without substituting. Each ingredient contributes nicely to the soup.
Depends on how tomato-ey you want your soup to be, you can adjust the amount of tomato paste you put in your soup. I recommend at least 2 tablespoons to start with.
If you don’t have tomato paste, you can use tomato puree or tomato sauce. For 1 tablespoon tomato paste, you can cook and reduce 2-3 tablespoons of tomato puree or tomato sauce until it is thick.
I use beef broth from Trader Joe’s and I like it as it’s not too salty compared to other brands. If you use other brands, please taste the soup before adding salt at the end. 🙂
Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot):
I usually use pressure cooking mode on my favorite Instant Pot (I’m not sponsored; I just love this gadget!) rather than slow cooking mode simply because I typically decide on dinner menus pretty last minute.
If you have an electric slow cooker, or slow cooking fits your lifestyle, you can definitely use this recipe as well.
Wine Pairing with Pressure Cooker Oxtail Soup
We had the opportunities to taste 3 different wines 2014 (Carneros Pinot Noir – $35, 2013 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – $52.50, and the 2013 Napa Valley Petite Sirah – $35) from Frank Family Vineyards in Napa and share them with friends over the holidays. These wines are great paired with food or enjoyed by themselves.
Among three wines, our favorite was the Petite Sirah, it was very fruity and flavorful, with hints of plums and berries. We enjoyed the Sirah with baked salmon and they worked out really well.
For the oxtail soup we enjoyed it with cab. The cab had strong earthy flavor but yet smelled light and refreshing. The complex flavors complemented the meat and tomato based broth.
As you drink, we particularly enjoyed the spicy finish for the cab. The pinot was light colored and easy on the palate. We would recommend drinking th pinot in the afternoon for fun as it was very sweet and fruity. It would go well with cheese and crackers, or just by itself.
No pressure cooker or slow cooker?
You can make it on the stovetop!
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- 2 lb oxtails (2 lb = 900 g)
- 1 onion
- 2 celery stalks
- 2 carrots
- ¼ cabbage (1/4 cabbage = 160 g/5.4 oz)
- 2 tomatoes
- 2 Yukon gold potatoes
- ½ lb stew beef (chuck cut into bite-size cubes) (1/2 lb = 227 g)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Pinch kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cups beef stock (4 cups = 1 L or 1 QT)
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 Tbsp dried basil
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 Tbsp brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 tsp kosher salt (for table salt, use half)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Gather all the ingredients.
To completely remove blood from the bone, soak the oxtails in cold water for 1 hour and discard the water.
Meanwhile, cut the onions into wedges, chop celery stalks into small pieces, and cut the carrots into chunks.
- Roughly cut the cabbage into 1 inch squares and rinse under running water.
Cut the tomatoes into wedges and cut them in halves. Cut Yukon gold potatoes into quarters and soak in water for 15 minutes to remove excess starch.
Cut the stew beef into smaller pieces.
After soaking the oxtails in one hour, drain and place them in a large pot and cover it with cold water. Bring it to boil over medium high heat. Once boiling, turn down the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, skimming foam on the surface frequently. Then take out the oxtail. Alternatively, you can skip skimming, drain the water, and rinse the oxtail under running water to get rid of foam and scum. Blanching oxtails before cooking helps remove blood and impurities.
- Press the “Saute” button on your Instant Pot and heat 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil. Once the pot is hot, add the stew beef and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Brown the beef. Don’t flip the pieces around until they release themselves. Transfer the meats to a plate from the pot.
Once the pot is hot, add the stew beef and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Brown the beef. Don’t flip the pieces around until they release themselves. Transfer the meats to a plate from the pot.
Add the onion and celery and sauté until they are coated with oil and become tender. While sautéing, scrape the flavorful charred bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the tomatoes, carrots, and cabbage and coat them with oil.
When the vegetables are a bit wilted and soft, add the boiled oxtail, browned stew beef, and beef broth
Add tomato paste and Seasonings A (1 tsp paprika, 1 Tbsp dried basil, and 2 bay leaves).
- Cover and lock the lid on the pressure cooker. Make sure the steam release handle points at “sealing” and not “venting”. Press the “Keep Warm/Cancel” button on the Instant Pot to stop “saute” mode. Press the “Meat/Stew” button to switch to the pressure cooking mode. Press “plus” button to change the cooking time to 45 minutes.
- If you’re using a stove-top pressure cooker, you won’t have any buttons to press. Just cook on high heat until high pressure is reached. Then reduce the heat to low but maintain high pressure for about 45 minutes.
- When it is finished cooking, the Instant Pot will switch automatically to the “Keep Warm” mode. You have 2 options to release the pressure: 1) slide the steam release handle to the “Venting” position to let out steam until the float valve drops down, OR 2) let the pressure release naturally, about 15-20 minutes.
After de-pressurizing is completed, unlock the lid and add the potatoes and Seasonings B (3 Tbsp. brown sugar, 2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar, and 2 tsp. kosher salt). Add freshly ground black pepper if you like.
- Cover and lock the lid on the pressure cooker. Make sure the steam release handle points at “sealing”. Press the “Keep Warm/Cancel” button and. Press the “Manual” button to switch to the pressure cooking mode. Press “minus” button to change the cooking time to 15 minutes.
- If you’re using a stove-top pressure cooker, cook on high heat until high pressure is reached. Then reduce the heat to low but maintain high pressure for about 15 minutes.
- Again, de-pressurizing with one of 2 methods, unlock the lid. Mix well and ladle the soup to individual bowls.
Equipment you will need:
IMPORTANT: For all pressure cooking programs, the total amount of precooked food and liquid should never pass 2/3 of the inner pot capacity. For non-pressure cooking programs (slow cook etc), do no fill pass the MAX line.
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.
Disclaimer: We received no compensation for the wine review. We received 3 different wines from Jarvis Communications free of charge to use in exchange for an honest review.