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Stews, Soups & Chili’s – The Series – Caldo de Res

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    Stews, Soups & Chili’s – The Series – Caldo de Res

    Whether or not you have heard of or even tried Caldo, there is one thing for certain. Caldo may be one of the most popular dishes in the world. Born, as many European dishes are, out of the peasant classes in places like the Andalusia region of southern Spain or a similar version out of the Minho Province of northern Portugal, it’s a simple dish that starts with a rich broth to which is added a variety of extra ingredients. It’s really those added ingredients that differentiates one type and place from another.

    The Spanish and the Portuguese eventually brought their versions of Caldo to the new world where it has been a staple all over Latin America ever since. It was even made popular in the Philippines during the Spanish 300-year occupation of that country. In Guatemala it’s traditionally and almost religiously made every Saturday much like we would make a Sunday roast. So at least in popularity and acceptance in so many far-flung regions, one can see that the assertion of it being among the most accepted of all dishes world wide cannot be overlooked.

    So, what exactly is Caldo? The word itself translates from the Spanish as broth. In its basic form the dish is a rich, fortified broth that contains, as I’ve mentioned, a variety of other ingredients unique to the area in which it’s made. Note I have not mentioned the word soup, although many consider it to be one. No, instead it’s really more like a stew with a variety of vegetables and proteins that make it a hybrid of the two. Think of Japanese ramen for instance or Vietnamese pho as prime examples of how best to describe Caldo. It’s really one in the same, a one bowl complete meal unto itself.

    My personal introduction to Caldo was through my first Tex-Mex wife. She liked nothing better then going to some of the local Houston holes-in-the-wall Mexican restaurants and eating both Caldo de Res (with meat) or Caldo de Pollo (with chicken). Be it a cold winter day or even nursing a hangover, there’s nothing like a good bowl of Caldo. So naturally it became a part of my cuisine, with Caldo de Res being my favorite.

    So, is it a soup or is it a stew? Is it all about the broth or the holistic ingredients? Regardless of how many 2-hour long arguments you might have with a purist who sees a variety of differing Caldos his way, all I know is in its many forms it’s an excellent dish. I encourage everyone to make this very easy but delicious dish during the winter weeks ahead. That said, let’s go ahead and make a big pot of Caldo de Res.

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    Caldo de Res

    Course. Lunch or Dinner.
    Cuisine. Spanish – Latin American - Filipino
    Makes. 4 to 6 servings
    Takes. Stew: 30-45 minutes’ prep and 90-120 minutes’ cooking time.

    **Note: As you know I’m a champion of pre-smoking meats that may go into an entirely unexpected dish. Although I have not presented this recipe with that in mind, I would endorse the practice here to enhance the flavor profile of the protein used in this recipe.


    3 - pounds beef shank (large bones, marrow), oxtail or good stew meat
    1 - medium onion diced
    2 - medium carrots cut uniform into 1” pieces
    3 - small Yukon gold or white potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
    2 – chayotes, coarsely chopped (or substitute Mexican squash)
    2 – ears cob corn cut into quarters
    1/4 - head cabbage
    3 - cups or 24 ounces beef bone broth (recommend Roli Roti brand or homemade)
    1 - can Muir Glen diced fire roasted tomatoes (14.5-ounce)
    1/4 - cup chopped cilantro
    2 –tablespoons Tony Chacheres seasoning (or Kosher salt & black pepper)
    2-3 - cups warm water
    1/4 – cup white wine for de-glazing
    1 – bouquet garni of fresh sage and thyme
    Oil for browning the beef

    For Garnish:

    Lime wedges
    Sliced radishes
    Chopped onion
    Chopped cilantro
    Sliced jalapenos


    Begin by removing most of the meat from the beef shank bones and cut into bite size pieces. If using stew meat do the same. Place in a large bowl and season liberally with Tony C’s, toss and set aside. Next get a cast iron skillet screaming hot, add your vegetable oil and brown the meat chunks in smaller portions as to not overcrowd the pan. When done, place the browned chunks and bones into a large Dutch oven.

    Next add a little more oil to the pan and brown your chopped onion. When near done, deglaze the pan with the white wine scraping the pan fond. Cook down until the alcohol dissipates then add the deglazed contents to the Dutch oven with the meat.

    Stir in the beef broth, the can of tomatoes and the bouquet garni. Make sure all of the meat is fully covered. Add additional water if needed. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer for at least (1) hour or until the meat is tender.

    Next add the carrots, potatoes and cilantro. If need be add a cup or two of warm water to submerge the vegetables. Continue to simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Finally add the corn, chayote and cabbage to the pot. Continue to simmer until all the vegetables are tender but not falling apart, about another 10-15 minutes. Add additional water as needed.


    In bowls, garnishing with lime wedges, radish, chopped onion and a bit of cilantro for color and pop. Serve with warm flour tortillas and a cold Mexican beer. That’s all there is to it!!

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    Enjoy this easy to make but oh so pleasing dish with friends and family. It’s as warming as a good bowl of soup and as hearty and filling as a good stew. It’s Caldo time!!!

    Until next time Troutman is outta here !!!

    Mmmmmm, love me some Caldo! Great recipe, Steve.


      Thanks for this. Very good stuff although I've never tried to make my own. Might just have to happen soon.


        I am sure that is good, but I have a thing about pulling things like the corn on the cob out of a soup to try to eat it. I would rather eat a soup without my fingers.



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