This is one of my all time favorite comfort food, especially during the chillier days. It reminds me of my childhood days growing up in the Philippines. In the province of Ilocos Sur, the northern part of the country. Back there, the people strongly believe in only using the freshest of ingredients, and when possible, even growing their own vegetables. I remember in my elementary school, we had our own little vegetable garden. We the students tended to the garden as part of the school curriculum. I believe it was part of our “Home Economics” class. We grew the veggies from the seeds, we watered, manually uprooted unwanted weeds, and used manure as fertilizer. We got good rich soil….the earthworms were happy ( I protected every single one of them!), and we got some good natural Vitamin D from the sun. Fast forward United States about 2 years ago. I realized that method is called the ORGANIC way of growing vegetables. In the States, if you want food the way nature intends veggies to grow, you gotta be willing to pay more money….cheap convenient fast food is the norm. And the scientific research points out we are getting sicker and sicker from it. And because it is the American way, the rest of the world follows it. I wonder how it is now in the Philippines? Hmmmm…….
Anyway, back to our comforting beef recipe. To make it, we gotta make the set-it-and forgeddabout-it bone broth first. Check my recipe here.
I have made a variety of soups using this bone broth recipe. But “Bulalo” is the hub’s favorite. “I can eat this everyday”, he proclaims. Hahaha! Bulalo is a beef soup made of shank with bone marrow. It’s simple yet most satisfying dish ever! It usually takes hours and hours of baby sitting and simmering the pot, but since we already made the bone-broth easily using the slow cooker, this soup comes together in no time. 15-30 minutes depending on YOU. Hehe!
Note: I add star anise and apple to this recipe. Yep! It’s my own twist and definitely not traditional. Many Filipinos (aka Pinoys) reading this blog right now are probably thinking “That’s not how you make that!”. But I think that’s the beauty of home cooking. I’m having fun creating my own innovative variations to our dishes. But for the most part, still respecting the traditions from which they come from. Don’t worry, the apple gives the soup a very slight hint of sweetness. It gives it complexity. It is taken out before you ladle soup to your bowls. The best of ramen houses do this.
- 2 broth-filled mason jars from the fridge (about 4 cups)
- Any fallen meat beef shanks from the bone broth OR thinly sliced beef
- 2 star anise pods
- ½ apple
- one small green cabbage (or ½ medium), cut in quarters
- one carrot, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
- 2-3 small potatoes (red or yukon gold), cut into ¼ each (the smaller the size, the sooner it gets cooked)
- fish sauce, few drops or to taste ( l use 'Red Boat')
- freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- Minced green onions (optional)
- Take out amount of bone broth from fridge. (For 2 people, I take out 2 mason jars (16 oz), or about 4 cups of bone broth. Skim fat from the top.
- Place a pot under medium high heat. Add bone broth, star anise, apple, potatoes and carrots. Cover with lid.
- After it boils, put the heat to "low" and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Add the cabbage. (and any "fallen" beef meat form the broth). Cook for 3 minutes or just until cabbage is done.
- Turn off heat.
- Fish out apple.
- Add in fish sauce to taste.
- Laddle soup to your favorite bowls.
- If you don't have any saved up meat form the broth, you may add very thinly sliced beef into the bowls. The piping hot broth will cook the meat (Pho soup style).
- Top with the green onions and freshly ground black pepper.