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    Caldo de Res (Mexican Beef & Vegetable Soup)

    Today I am going to give you one of my most favorite soups in the world, Caldo de Res, AKA Beef & Vegetable Soup. This is the soup I order every single time I visit our local Mexican grocery store, which has a small little eatery.

    A big pot of Caldo is so much more than a soup. A good Caldo is a warm family moment, a room filled with laughter.

    Melt in your mouth beef simmered for hours in a beautifully flavored, yet delicately tasty, bone broth with loads of varied colorful vegetables cooked to perfection. Serve it in your biggest available bowl to accommodate all the goodies.

    That’s, my friends, is Caldo de Res. One sip and you are going to crave a pot of Caldo every now and then…

    Caldo de Res is a flavorful Mexican beef and vegetable soup tat simmers for hours in a beautiful homemade broth.

    Caldo de Res came into my life when I was hunting down some Mexican herbs and spices in a small little Latin grocery store here in Fort Pierce. There was a big line of the workers at lunchtime at their cafeteria-style restaurant. The spread is full of their stews and soups like Pozole and taco meats like Carnitas and Carne Picada.

    Most of the customers came out of there with a giant bowl of some clear soup heaped with meat and vegetables. No one speaks English at this joint, and it’s as authentic as it can be. I asked for the same bowl as everyone else, and got hooked from the very first sip of what would soon become my favorite soup in the whole wide world.

    A bowl of caldo from our favorite local Mexican eatery.

    When you think of clear broth soup, Mexican cuisine never comes to mind. But we discovered the amazing, jam-packed flavors the broth gets with meatballs and tons of veggies when we cooked our Albondigas Soup.

    Now that I discovered the Caldo, I really wanted to recreate the same flavors at home and I must say I pretty much nailed this Caldo de Res, with a bowl full of tender beef with perfectly cooked varied vegetables.

    What is Caldo de Res?

    Caldo de Res is a flavorful Mexican beef and vegetable soup tat simmers for hours in a beautiful homemade broth.

    Caldo in Spanish means “broth” and res means “beef” or “cow”. So Caldo de Res or, sopa de res, is a soup packed with tender, slow simmered beef with tons of veggies. Caldo de res is also known as cocido, meaning cooked.

    This Latin soup seems to have its origin in Spain. Puchero (aka cocido) is a peasant soup from Andalusia. During colonial times, it traveled from Spain to Latin America and the Philippines. It is known under different names in the various countries where it is popular.

    Every country or family has their own little spin on the soup, favorite veggie preferences and what seasonings goes in to flavor the broth.

    This is a soup that you will never see made in a small batch. The big portion sizes mean the soup is meant to be shared and eaten with a lot of people, mostly for a Saturday or weekend lunch.

    The same recipe can be adapted to other proteins such as chicken (try our Caldo de Pollo), or even pork for different flavors, with the vegetables of your choice.

    Caldo de Res is a flavorful Mexican beef and vegetable soup tat simmers for hours in a beautiful homemade broth.

    What Kind of Beef to Use

    Broth is the BOSS here. To get the best flavored broth, it’s impossible without some bony meat. The marrow in bones is where the rich beef flavors come from.

    When I make Caldo de Res, I always opt for bone-in beef shank, or chamorro de res. It has a central bone surrounded by meat, perfect for this dish. If you can’t find beef shank at your usual grocery store, though most carry it, you can definitely pick it up at Hispanic or ethnic markets.

    Other great alternatives include short ribs, neck bones, beef soup bones, or even oxtail. I also like to throw in some chuck roast to add extra tender bites to the soup.

    The bone broth created in Caldo has all kinds of benefits. In addition to having a good dose of vitamins & minerals, it is believed to improve immunity and joint mobility. In short, this not only tastes divine, but it’s your dream “get well soon” soup, if feeling under the weather.

    What Veggies to Use

    A bunch of different veggies on a cutting board.

    What vegetables I add to my soup really depends on what I feel like and what’s in season. This soup is incredibly versatile and perfect for enjoying any time of the year.

    Typically, I include wheels of corn on the cob, potatoes, carrots, green beans, and squash. I often toss in wedges of cabbage, zucchini, and a few tomatoes too. Really, any garden veggies you love can make their way into this delicious Mexican soup. It’s a great way to make use of what’s growing in the garden or what looks good at the market.

    Ingredients

    • Beef – beef shank and chuck roast
    • Aromatics & seasonings – onion, garlic, green onion, cilantro, mint, salt, pepper, cumin, bay leaves
    • Vegetables – carrots, celery, potatoes, green beans, corn, zucchini, cabbage

    How to Make Caldo de Res

    It all starts with the meat. The whole idea is to cook the meat tender before adding the vegetables. This way, the vegetables retain their beautiful color, flavors and crunch.

    To make that beautiful Caldo broth, I start by cooking whole pieces of beef shank and cubed chuck roast in 12 cups of water. I add some salt, bay leaves, a whole garlic head, and chopped onions to the water. I also grind some peppercorn and cumin (you can use powders too) and toss them in. Then, I bring it all to a boil, turn down the heat to medium low, and let it simmer. This creates a rich and flavorful base that’s perfect for the veggies I’ll add later.

    Once the meat starts cooking, some greasy foam begins to appear on top of the broth. I make sure to remove it at intervals using a sieve or spoon to ensure the broth looks clear and pretty at the end. I keep removing as much as possible until all that’s left is a clear broth simmering away.

    Simmer the Caldo, covered, anywhere in from 2.5 to 3 hours plus, till your meat is tender and starts falling off the bone. While it simmers, check out our roundup of favorite Mexican recipes.

    meat broth simmering in a pot.

    After the broth has simmered, I discard the whole garlic head and the bay leaves. Now it’s time to add the veggies. I cut the vegetables into larger chunks for this soup, so they hold up well and don’t fall apart while simmering.

    I will be adding different veggies at intervals, as some take longer time to cook than others. You don’t want veggies to turn into mush, but instead to hold their individual shape and texture.

    fresh herbs added to the pot.

    At this time, I also like to add more flavors into the broth. I add bunches of cilantro, mint and green onion (they will set your Caldo apart from the rest), along with carrots and celery and let it cook for another 30-40 minutes.

    green beans and potatoes added in.

    Then it’s time to add in potatoes and green beans. Cook for 10-15 minutes.

    corn and zucchini added to the pot.

    Time to add in corn and zucchini for another 10-15 minutes.

    finally, some cabbage...

    Finally, I add the cabbage and let it cook for another 10-15 minutes, until all the vegetables are perfectly cooked but still have a bit of crunch, especially the green beans and zucchini. Then, I remove the bones from the beef shank and cut it into larger meat chunks as I like chunky meat in this soup.

    The caldo de res is ready to serve.

    How to Serve It

    Once the soup is ready to serve, find the largest bowl in your kitchen, as this chunky meat and veggie soup would need a lot of space to accommodate it. Ladle a generous portion of the clear delicious broth into your bowl, adding the chunks of meat.

    Now add every single veggie to each portion, as no one just wants to end up with just potatoes or carrots. Each bowl should have every veggie component.

    Caldo de Res is a flavorful Mexican beef and vegetable soup tat simmers for hours in a beautiful homemade broth.

    This is just divine as it is. But it’s very common to further season the soup with some kind of hot sauce or salsa, or a dash of lime juice. Garnishings like fresh cilantro, onion, green onion, or pieces of avocado are also loved.

    It’s customary for soups like this to have a healthy serving of either Mexican red rice or white rice added to the bowl just before digging in. And don’t forget to serve some warm, corn tortillas to dunk into the tasty broth, before rolling them with some tender meat. Yumm…

    Caldo de Res is a flavorful Mexican beef and vegetable soup tat simmers for hours in a beautiful homemade broth.

    Caldo de Res, with its bounty of vegetables, is meant to be simmered all through out the year. Add in seasonal vegetables to vary the soup, depending on the season.

    Come autumn and winter, add in more squashes and enjoy this heart warming soup during chilly nights.

    Be it a gazillion degrees in summer time, you would still want a pot of this light broth soup with zucchini and corn.

    Make Caldo de Res for the whole family and enjoy these amazing Latin flavors at home. All you need is to find a day to simmer that Caldo low and slow, and the biggest bowl in your kitchen when it’s ready to serve. Hope you try my version of Caldo de Res, as I am mighty impressed with the flavors I achieved recreating my favorite soup from my favorite Mexican store. Have fun!

    Caldo de Res, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!

    Bowl of caldo de res atop the Gypsy Plate.

    Try these other great Mexican recipes!
    Birria Tacos
    Chile Verde
    Espagueti Verde
    Sopa de Fideo
    Steak Fajitas
    Barbacoa Pork
    Picadillo

    Featured image for caldo de res recipe post.

    Caldo de Res (Mexican Beef & Vegetable Soup)

    Yield: 8-10 servings
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
    Total Time: 3 hours 45 minutes

    Caldo de Res is a flavorful Mexican beef and vegetable soup tat simmers for hours in a beautiful homemade broth.

    Ingredients

    • 2-2.5 lbs beef shank
    • 1-1.5 lbs chuck roast, cut into big chunks
    • 12 cups water
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1 Tbsp salt
    • ¾ tsp black pepper, ground
    • 3 tsp cumin
    • 1 small onion, cut into big chunks
    • 1 whole garlic head
    • 3 carrots, cut into big chunks
    • 3 celery, cut into big chunks
    • 5-6 potatoes, cut into big chunks
    • 4 green onions
    • 1 small bunch of mint
    • 1 small bunch of cilantro
    • 1.5 zucchinis, cut into big chunks
    • 3 corn cobs, cut into big chunks
    • Handful of green beans
    • 1 small cabbage, cut into wedges

    Instructions

      1. In a large soup pot (we used a 7qt dutch oven), place beef shank (whole pieces ), chuck roast cubes, 12 cups of water, bay leaves, whole garlic head, onion, salt, pepper and cumin powder. Mix well. Bring this to boil, then reduce the temperature to medium low and let it simmer.
      2. Once the meat starts cooking, some greasy foam will start appearing on top of the broth. Remove as much as possible to get the clear broth.
      3. Simmer the Caldo, covered, anywhere in from 2.5 hours to 3 hour plus, till your meat is tender.
      4. Discard the whole garlic head and bay leaves. Add in cilantro, mint and green onion, along with carrots and celery. Cook for another 30-40 minutes, uncovered.
      5. Add in potatoes and green beans. Cook for 10- 15 minutes, uncovered.
      6. Add corn and zucchini, simmer for another 10-15 minutes, uncovered.
      7. Add in cabbage, cook till all the vegetables are cooked, yet hold a little crunch, about 10-15 more minutes.
      8. Discard the bones from the beef shank, cut the larger meat chunks into your desired size.
      9. Serve the caldo immediately with a dash of lime, cilantro and hot sauce or salsa (optional) .

    Notes

    1. Storage and Leftovers: Always allow to cool down before storing your caldo. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container up to 3-4 days. This soup freezes beautifully, too. Freeze in a freezer-proof container for up to 3 months. Thaw your Mexican stew overnight, then transfer it to a stock pot and heat it up in the stove over medium-low heat. Or reheat in a microwave safe container in 3 minutes intervals.

    Nutrition Information
    Yield 10 Serving Size 1
    Amount Per Serving Calories 441Total Fat 14gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 108mgSodium 835mgCarbohydrates 34gFiber 5gSugar 5gProtein 47g

    Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.

    Did you make this recipe?

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    Picture of Alpana, blogger and recipe developer at GypsyPlate

    Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.

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