When the wind begins to blow in South Texas, and the temperature drops a few degrees (from Hell Hot to just Hot,) every menu, every Tweet, every FB post, every flashing outdoor sign declares “It’s time for a bowl of caldo de res.” And yes folks, it is.
Caldo de Res on a Cold Day…
Caldo de Res is a very basic country beef vegetable soup, but the clamor and fame that precedes this dish lets you know that in reality, this soup is very special. Grandmother’s serve caldo de res by the gallon, and when you order it in a restaurant, the comments are always the same: “Good… but not as good as my abuelita’s”
I make my caldo de res in two stages: First, the beef stock, and then the caldo. Like all good things, beef stock takes time to make. If you like using your crock pot, you can use it to make your beef stock. Once the three hours of boiling are complete, the timer on the crock pot will turn itself off (not every model has a timer, so read the instructions first!.) Same for Instant Pots too.
First make beef stock, then make caldo
After the stock is boiled, the vegetables must be strained out and discarded, as all of their flavor has given itself over to the stock. But since you are using beef shanks for the meat, the long boiling time is perfect. Beef shank is loaded with sinew, collagen, and flavor, all of which melt into velvety beef flavor after several hours. So save the beef and the stock, but toss the vegetables, and add new ones.
There are variations of vegetables used for this recipe, but the most traditional are small cobs of corn, chunks of cabbage, celery, carrots, squash and potatoes, and a few whole chiles thrown in for flavor.
There are no small recipes for caldo de res. Served in big bowls with plenty of lime wedges for garnish on the side. This is the dish we crave on those rare days when the weather turns misty and cold on the ranch.Print
Caldo de Res (Traditional Beef Soup)
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 3.5 hours
- Total Time: 40 minute
- Yield: 12 servings 1x
- Category: Soup
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Mexican
Caldo de Res (Beef Soup)
Stock: 4 lbs. beef shank bones with meat (2kg)
1 onion, peeled
2 whole tomatoes
1 whole head garlic
2 whole serrano chiles
Salt and pepper to taste
Caldo: 1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
Pinch ground cumin
1 tsp. ground black pepper (4g)
3 tomatoes, cored, seeded and peeled
Fresh soup vegetables:
3 whole chile serrano
4 carrots, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
8 new potatoes, halved
1/2 head cabbage, sliced
3 ears corn, cut into 3 pieces each
1 lb. tatuma or zucchini squash, chopped (500g)
To make the stock: In a 6 quart (6lt.) stock pot, add beef, onion, tomatoes, whole garlic, chiles, and salt. Fill the pot with water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 3 hours. Skim foam off of the surface. Add more water if necessary (about 1 qt/1lt.) if the broth seems too reduced. Remove beef, cut meat from bone and cut the meat into bite sized pieces. Strain out stock vegetables discard. Return bones and meat to the pot.*
To finish the caldo: Add the garlic, cumin and black pepper to stock pot. In a blender, puree tomatoes, using a little beef broth to facilitate blending. Add to the soup pot. Add fresh vegetables, and simmer for another 10-15 minutes. *Once you have made your stock, you can cool it down and store for several days in the refrigerator. It’s convenient to make the broth in advance and have ready.