After 25 years of marriage, my husband, Jesús, suddenly told me “You know my favorite food is caldo de res. My mom used to make it for me.” It took him that long to tell me! (In California it’s known more as cocido de res, so I titled the blog that.) So I called his mom, Conchita, and I got the recipe. Of course I tweaked it a bit, but he loved the results since the broth was so rich.
I used the leftover broth from making the chicken for Enchiladas Rojas for 15 Hungry Dancers. You could also go cross-cultural and use Roz’s Jewish Chicken Soup or go the easy route and use boxed or canned broth. When you add the bones and beef to broth and slow cook it, you will get an incredibly rich broth.
I went to the local Mexican market in Berkeley, Mi Tierra, and the carnicero (butcher) cut up the meat for me on a giant band saw.
If you don’t have chilies, you can substitute 1 tsp ancho chili powder (or more if you like it spicier).
Makes about 12 servings
1 gallon (16 cups) chicken or beef broth. If not using the broth fromEnchiladas Rojas for 15 Hungry Dancers or Tamales de pollo, add the following ingredients to Roz’s Jewish Chicken Soup or other plain chicken or beef broth:
3 ancho chilies
1 tsp. chipotle powder
3 Tb cumin powder (comino)
2 Tb. dried oregano
2 chopped onions
1 sliced bell pepper
6 minced garlic cloves
2 cups diced Roma (plum) tomatoes or 15 oz can diced tomatoes (fire roasted is nice)
6 – oz can tomato paste
1 Tb. salt to taste
1/2 tsp black pepper
Boil the broth in a large pot. Toast the chilies on a heavy skillet until soft and slightly blackened. Remove and let cool a few minutes, then place in a plastic bag. After it’s completely cool, about 20 minutes, remove the skin, stems and seeds and add to the boiling broth. If you want a spicier stew, add some of the seeds to the broth.
Toast the chili powder, comino, and oregano on the skillet a few minutes until fragrant then add to broth.
Pour a tsp of olive oil in the skillet and add the chopped onions and bell peppers, stirring over medium flame, until softened. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, then add to broth. Add tomatoes and tomato paste, black pepper and salt.
1 pound beef chuck roast, cut into cubes against the grain
1 pound beef short ribs, cut into cubes against the grain
2 Tb olive oil.
Salt and pepper to sprinkle on beef
2 bell peppers, stem, ribs and seeds removed
1 pasilla chili, stem removed.
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced in rounds
3 large red potatoes, peeled and chopped in bite-size chunks
2 large chayotes , peeled, seed area removed, and chopped in bite-size chunks
3 cobs sweet corn, cut into rounds (use a large knife)
lemon or lime juice
Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet. Sprinkle beef with salt and black pepper, and add to the skillet in batches, browning on both sides. Then add it to broth. Pour the soup into a crock pot and cook on low for 5 hours.
Transfer the whole soup to a large pot, add vegetables to the broth and bring to a boil. Cook for 30 more minutes until vegetables are tender. Adjust salt to taste. You can skim the fat off the top of the soup and serve. Or you can transfer it to a large container and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. The vegetables will absorb the flavors of the broth and impart their flavors as they sit in the broth all night. Remove the congealed fat from the top of the soup before serving.
Serve garnished with fresh cilantro leaves, a slice or two of avocado, and a squeeze of lemon or lime, with warm Tortillas de maíz hechas a mano – Homemade corn tortillas or fresh baguette (we are in Berkeley after all).