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“Cocido”, Caldo de res or “puchero” are some of the names this Beef and vegetables stew is known for in México, which, again, it is another meal we in inherited from Spain. This soup allows so many variations from the most simple broth with 2 or 3 vegetables and some herbs to the finest dish that includes different cuts of meat and a great selection of vegetables, that can be savored as a main dish or as an entrée dish. The vegetables vary depending on what region of México you are visiting. For example, you will find that Yuca will be added in Yucatán, Plantains are common in Tabasco, Garbanzos in most of central México and with a tomato “recaudo” in the Gulf of México. It is usually served with rice and in some regions the meat and vegetables will be served on separate plate.
Caldo de res is cooked almost daily at the local market kitchens and also in small family restaurants known for serving "Comidas Corridas". They serve this dish as an entrée or, if you prefer it, as a main dish. Some local markets sell the vegetables already cut and packaged for the cook’s convenience.
Ingredients for 6 servings
- 2 pounds beef shank, bone-in (Some people use beef short ribs and beef chuck cut in large cubes)
- 1 ½ pounds marrow bones
- 4 cloves of garlic unpeeled
- 1/2 medium-sized white onion cut in 2 pieces
- 2 ears corn cut in 3 or 4 parts
- 1 large chayote peeled and cut in large cubes (pit removed)
- 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
- ½ pound green beans trimmed and cut in half (Optional)
- 2 cups of cooked garbanzo beans or 1 can of garbanzo beans drained (Optional)
- 2 small Mexican squash or zucchini, sliced or cubed
- 1/3 head of cabbage cut in large cubes
- 1 large plantain cut in slices (optional)
- 2 small white potatoes peeled and cubed
- 2 springs of fresh mint
- 6 springs of cilantro
- Enough water to cover the meat and vegetables
- Salt to taste
- 2 medium size tomates cut in cubes
- 2 garlic cloves chopped
- ¼ cup onion chopped
- Chopped cilantro
- 1 Lime cut into wedges
- Corn tortillas
- 1 serrano pepper finely chopped (Optional. This is a personal preference)
Note: I cooked the meat in a pressure cooker first for 35 minutes, then removed the meat and skimmed off the broth.
1. In a large pot place the meat and bones, corn, onion, garlic and herbs. If you prefer tie the herbs together. Add water and bring to boil and then turn heat to low simmering the broth for about 2 hours or until meat is tender. Skimming the foam and fat off. Remove the garlic, onion and herbs to leave a clear broth. If you have the time cook the meat and broth a day ahead to remove the fat when broth gets cold. If you are cooking the meat in a pressure cooker cook for 35 minutes.
2. Meanwhile if you are adding the tomato sauce. Place the ingredients in your blender with ¼ cup of water and puree. It will be added with the vegetables to the broth.
3. Return the broth and meat back to simmering point and add the carrots and chayotes; cook for about 15 minutes, add the potatoes and keep cooking for 10 more minutes making sure vegetables are still al dente. Add the rest of the vegetables and sauce if using, salt to taste and let it simmer until all the vegetables are cook, about 10 more minutes. It is important to cook the vegetables in stages to avoid overcooking some of them.
4. Serve in a large bowl and garnish with cilantro. Place in your table along warm corn tortillas, and lemons wedges.
What do you like to add to your “Cocido Soup”?