Caldo de Res made with beef shanks, potatoes, corn, and vegetables. This Mexican beef soup is hearty, delicious and the perfect comfort food!
As you can see from the many recipes on the blog, I have a deep affinity for Mexican food. But although pollo asado, camarones a la diabla or the ubiquitous beef fajitas are on steady rotation at home, caldo de res is definitely my favorite one-pot Mexican comfort food. Because, really, what warms the soul and nourishes the body better than a hefty bowl of piping hot soup?
What is the Meaning of Caldo?
The Spanish word Caldo translates to broth, stock or soup. Popular examples are Caldo de pollo which means chicken soup, broth or stock and caldo de res which means beef soup, broth or stock.
The word is also used to describe liquids or juices of meat, fruits and other food. A good example is say, cucumbers are drizzled with lime juice and chili powder or beef is marinated in seasonings, the resulting juice or liquid is called caldo.
How to Make Caldo de Res
Caldo de Res is a traditional Mexican beef soup made with beef chunks and choice of vegetables which usually includes potatoes, corn, carrots, squash and cabbage. It’s a type of boiled soup wherein meat followed by the vegetables are simmered in a large pot until tender and cooked through. Garlic and onions add depth of flavor to the broth as well as seasoning with cumin and salt to taste.
What are Beef Shanks?
Beef shanks are a cut from the foreleg of the steer and are a common ingredient in making soups, gravies as well as stews such as osso bucco. As shanks are tough and sinewy, they are best cooked over a long period in moist heat.
While you can use beef stew meat or beef ribs, I use bone-in beef shanks or what are called chamorro in this caldo de res recipe as they bring the best flavor. The many hours of simmering to tenderize the meat really draw out incredible flavor from the bones!
Caldo de Res (Mexican Beef Soup)
- 2 pounds bone-in beef shanks
- 1 large onion, peeled and quartered
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and pounded
- 2 tomatoes, quartered
- 2 bay leaves
- salt to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 4 corn, shucked and halved
- 4 large red potatoes, quartered
- 2 large carrot, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
- 4 Mexican squash, ends trimmed and cut into 2- chunks
- 8 green beans, ends trimmed and halved
- 1/2 head cabbage, quartered
- 1/2 bunch cilantro, stems trimmed and coarsely chopped
- limes, cut into wedges
- cilantro, chopped
- hot sauce
- Wash meat to remove any blood or impurities.
- In a deep pot, combine beef shanks and enough water to cover. Add onions, garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves, and salt to taste.
- Over medium heat, bring to a boil, skimming scum that accumulates on top. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until meat tender. Add more water as needed during cooking to maintain about 8 to 10 cups.
- Add cumin.
- Add corn and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add potatoes and carrots and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add zucchini and green beans and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add cabbage and continue to cook for another 2 to 3 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
- Add cilantro. Adjust seasonings if needed.
- Ladle into serving bowls and top with additional cilantro, drizzle with lime juice and hot sauce to taste. Serve hot.