Caldo de res (Mexican beef soup) is an immune-boosting classic that warms you to your bones.
Hearty and revitalizing, it’s packed with muscle-building protein and chunky veggies. Picture tender beef simmered to perfection in a bone-infused broth with a vegetable medley.
This traditional Mexican soup is just about as soul-warming as it gets. It’s chock-full of nourishing ingredients and savory flavors.
The aroma alone is enough to transport you to a cozy kitchen in Mexico!
Put on a pot when you feel under the weather or need a little boost. Caldo de res is just what the doctor ordered.
What Is Caldo de Res?
Caldo is Spanish for “broth,” and res is Spanish for “beef.” Put them together, and you get this beloved classic.
Caldo de res is a Mexican soup made with beef, beef bones, and veggies. It’s chunky, brothy, and very hearty.
You may hear some people call it cocido. Others refer to it as sopa de res. It depends upon the region.
Like most soups, there are variations. Depending on the season, the included vegetables can vary.
This soup is downright comforting. It’s often enjoyed as a cold buster and immune booster.
The bone-in beef slowly simmers with chayote, corn, potatoes, and more in the beef broth.
Right before serving, each bowl gets topped with fresh ingredients. The balance of fresh and savory makes it so complex.
But don’t rush this one. Caldo de res needs to cook low and slow. The wait, however, is well worth it.
Caldo de res is all about big beefy flavors and fresh ingredients. Here’s everything you need to make this soup:
- Bone-in beef shank – The heart of the soup! The bones are key for giving the soup flavor and nutrients.
- Vegetable oil – For browning the meat and cooking the onion.
- Salt and black pepper – Add a couple of pinches for proper seasoning.
- Fresh vegetables – Veggies are an essential component. Onions, carrots, chayotes, corn ears, potatoes, and cabbage are what I use. But you can use what’s in season.
- Beef broth – The flavorful, savory broth gives it that soul-warming touch.
- Canned diced tomatoes – To flavor the broth. If you prefer fresh, choose a meaty tomato variety.
- Water – For covering the bones and simmering the vegetables.
- Cilantro – Fresh cilantro adds more flavor.
- Garnishes – Caldo de res isn’t complete without the fresh garnishes! Add onion, radishes, pickled jalapeno, cilantro, and lime.
How to Make Caldo de Res
Caldo de res is not the sort of soup you rush. Building the savory broth, cooking the beef, and simmering the veggies takes time.
Fortunately, the steps are easy to follow. Here’s the rundown of how to make this soup:
- Prep the meat. Cut the beef from the bone into 1/2 inch cubes. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the meat, bones, salt, and black pepper. Cook it until browned.
- Build the broth. Add the onions to the pot and cook them until they begin to brown. Stir in the beef broth and canned diced tomatoes. Add water (if needed) to cover the bones with 1/2 inch of liquid. Reduce the heat to low and simmer it for about 1 hour. Skim off any floating foam and discard.
- Simmer the vegetables. Pour in 4 cups of water and bring it to a simmer. Add the carrots, chayotes, corn, potato, and cilantro. Simmer them until tender. Add the cabbage wedges and cook them until tender, for about 10 minutes.
- Garnish it and serve. Divide the soup into bowls. Top it with onion, radishes, pickled jalapenos, lime, and cilantro. Serve it and enjoy!
Tips and Variations
The more you make caldo de res, the more you learn a thing or two. Here are some tips and variations to help you build your soup:
- Vary up your bone-in beef cut. Ribs or bone-in beef chuck work, too. Whatever you use, ensure it has bones. They’re a signature ingredient to build the savory broth.
- Chop, chop, chop! Chop the vegetables to the same size. It helps them cook evenly.
- Fire up the slow cooker. Caldo de res needs a couple of hours to cook. So it’s a perfect recipe for the slow cooker.
- Switch up the herbs. You can use other herbs like epazote or bay leaf.
- Build the broth. Before adding anything, you need to build the broth. After all, it’s what makes this soup so meaty and savory. You can do this the day before if you don’t have time.
- Don’t skip the bones. The bones and the marrow are the soul of this soup. If you can’t find bone-in beef at the grocery store, head to the butcher.
How to Serve Caldo de Res
The best way to enjoy caldo de res is to ladle it into a big bowl. That way, you can load it up with garnishes and get a little bit of everything.
As for sides, there are tons of things you can serve with it. Here are some of my favorite recommendations:
- Corn tortillas
- Bolillo bread
- Cilantro lime rice
- Mexican sweet corn cakes
Storing, Freezing, and Reheating
Have leftover caldo de res? Here’s how to store, freeze, and reheat it:
- Cool. Let the soup cool down.
- Transfer. Pour it into an air-tight container.
- Refrigerate. Place it in the fridge and consume it within 5 days.
- Cool. Let the soup cool completely.
- Transfer and label it. Divide it between freezer-friendly containers. Give each container a label with the name and the date – no mystery containers here!
- Freeze. Freeze the containers and eat the soup within the next 3 months.
- Stovetop method. If it’s frozen, thaw the soup overnight in the refrigerator. Pour the soup into a pot and reheat it on low. Stir it occasionally until it’s fully heated.
- Microwave method. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator if it’s frozen. Pour the soup into a microwaveable container. Heat it for 1 minute, stir, and repeat until it’s fully heated.
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