Growing up in my family, I can honestly say that there were only a handful of soup recipes prepared. There was menudo, pozole, caldo de pollo, caldo de albondigas and the family favorite, caldo de res(mexican-style beef soup). When I signed on with Rumba Meats to share some of my favorite family recipes and memories of cooking with family, I knew that this recipe would surely be one that I would share. Today I share with you my version of Caldo de Res. This was a dish typically prepared for a Sunday meal in our house. (www.rumbameats.com)
After much soul searching, in 2011, I decided to return to Monterrey, Mexico to visit my extended family. Losing both of my parents just a few short years earlier, I had resigned myself to never returning. I just thought it would never be the same. One of the motivations for me to return, besides getting to see all my family, was to experience one on one cooking in Mexico with all of the plentiful ingredients that I loved. I would be staying with my madrina(godmother), mom’s younger sister Minerva. She was always ahead of her time when it came to cooking and I could not wait to experience it all first hand. I made so many new memories, and as you can guess, most of them were food memories. Cooking with family and enjoying many, many meals together as a family.
Besides all the wonderful recipes I learned, I came home determined to conquer my fear of cooking with the pressure cooker. As a child, I always remember how my abuelita and tias would all use the pressure cooker for meals every single day. My Mom was not a fan of the pressure cooker, so I never learned to use one. Soon after arriving home to New York, I purchased a small basic pressure cooker. There was no looking back! At the end of the post, I will share with you the more traditional directions on how to prepare this recipe.
Caldo de Res(Mexican-Style Beef Soup)
2 1/2 to 3 pounds Rumba Meats beef hind shanks
4 to 6 Rumba Meats Marrow bones
1/2 large white onion left whole, dice the other half and reserve
1 head garlic, mince 3 cloves and reserve
2 bay leaves
3 stalks celery, sliced
2 tablespoons Maggi sauce, optional
1 teaspoon salt
5 cups water
*Maggi sauce is a liquid seasoning, much like soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce.
You will also need
2 to 3 large carrots, sliced
1 large chayote, sliced into wedges
2 roma tomatoes, diced
2 medium russet potatoes, sliced into chunks
2 ears of corn, sliced
1 summer squash, zucchini or calabacita, sliced
1/2 head of green cabbage, sliced into chunks
handful of cilantro
8 cups water
Salt to taste
For Serrano Salsa
8 to 10 serrano peppers, roughly chopped
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
For Serrano Salsa:To the blender, add the serranos, 1/2 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Blend on high until smooth. Set aside. My Mom would always prepare this spicy salsa for the caldo de res.
1. In the pressure cooker, add 3 cups of water. Add the beef shanks and season with some salt as you layer them in the pot. Add the bone marrow, 1/2(whole piece) of the onion, head of garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns and 1/3 of celery. Reserve the remaining onion, garlic and celery for later in the recipe. Add just enough more water so it comes 1/2 an inch below maximum fill line. Secure and the lid and lock. Turn heat to high.
2. Once the safety valve locks and the pressure release valve begins to hiss and rotate, turn heat to low. On an electric stove that would be number 2. Set timer for 1 hour. The pressure cooker will yield a much more concentrated broth and the most tender meat.
3. After 40 minutes, add 8 cups of water to a large soup pot. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Add the carrots, chayote, celery, diced onion, minced garlic and tomatoes. Cook for 10 minutes.
4. By this time the beef should be just about done. If timer has gone off, remove pressure cooker from heat and let sit until safety valve unlocks. Once it unlocks, carefully remove the lid. Remove all the beef(discarding excess fat) and transfer to simmering soup. Strain the solids from the beef stock and discard the solids. Skim the fat on the top of stock. Add remaining beef stock to soup pot.
5. To the simmering soup, add in the potatoes. Time it for ten more minutes, add the corn, again wait 10 minutes, then the squash. Finally the cabbage and cilantro at the end. Cook for ten more minutes or until cabbage is cooked through. Remove from heat. Ladle soup into serving bowls and garnish with serrano salsa, lemon(or lime) and fresh cilantro if desired. Serve with warm corn tortillas and rice. We like to spread the bone marrow on the warm tortilla with serrano salsa, lemon and salt. Yields 6-8 servings.
Tips~ When you serve the caldo de res with all it’s chunky vegetables, we like to serve with a small plate on the side. This way you could remove any bone marrow bones, corn or chayote. Any pieces that would be large.
Loves Rumba Meats~I just had to add this picture of my husband Richard getting ready to enjoy his bowl of Caldo de Res. He was not a fan of beef shanks until I prepared this soup with Rumba Meats beef hind shanks! True story! This means I have to share with him now, ha, ha, ha!
Traditional Cooking Method~ Add all of the beef and marrow bones to a large soup pot. Cover with a generous amount of water. Add onion, celery, bay leaves, peppercorns and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Skim the foam off the top as needed. Cover partially and continue cooking for 1 1/2 hours or until meat is tender. Add the vegetables as directed above and finish cooking the soup.
Here are a few pictures of my visit to Mexico, just a small piece of all the cooking we did. My tia Minerva, tia Amelia and me in the bottom left. While in Monterrey, I purchased my tia Minerva a better set of knives and a better cutting board, lol! For me, two very important tools in the kitchen for slicing up all those wonderful cuts from Rumba Meats.