Let me introduce the classic Caldo cooked in many Latin countries… Caldo de Res, AKA Beef & Vegetable Soup.
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… served 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 this pot of Caldo every now and then…
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.
After digging deep into the sopas of the Latin world, we kept on coming back to this bowl full of tender beef adorned with beautifully colored veggies, and decided to make a big pot of Caldo de Res…
What is Caldo de Res?
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.
Caldo de res is a one-dish meal containing many food groups. It is an aromatic and attractive dish that looks elaborate and delicious, but is quite easy to make.
The same recipe can be adapted to other proteins such as chicken (it is then called caldo de pollo), or even pork for different flavors, with the vegetables of your choice.
What Kind of Beef to Use in Caldo de Res
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.
For an authentic Caldo de Res recipe, use bone in beef shank, or chamorro de res. This cut of beef has a bone in the center and beef around. If your local grocery store does not have this cut of beef in stock (most of the big grocery stores do carry beef shank), you can find it in Hispanic and ethnic markets.
You can also use short ribs, neck bones, packages labeled as beef soup bones, or even oxtail for the boney component. We highly recommend supplementing the beef shank with some of chuck roast to have more melt in your mouth morsels.
The bone broth created in Caldo has all kinds if 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 in Caldo
What veggie power and flavor goes in your sopa depends entirely on your personal preference, and what’s available in season. This soup is very versatile, and is enjoyed throughout the year.
Traditionally, this soup has wheels of corn on the cob, potatoes, carrots, green beans and squash. Wedges of cabbage, zucchini, and some tomato are also very common sights in a Caldo pot. Basically, any garden veggies can find a very happy place in this flavorful Mexican Soup.
Ingredients for Caldo de Res
- 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.
Start making that beautiful Caldo broth by cooking beef shank (whole pieces) along with cubed chuck roast in 12 cups of water with salt, bay leaves, a whole garlic head and chopped onions. Grind peppercorn and cumin (you can use powders, too) and add it to the pot. Bring this to boil, then reduce the temperature to medium low and let it simmer.
Once the meat starts cooking, some greasy foam will start appearing on top of the broth. You need too remove it at intervals with the help of sieve or spoon to get the clear looking pretty broth in the end. Try to remove as much as possible, till all you get is a clear looking 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.
Discard the whole garlic head and the bay leaves. Now is the time to start adding the veggies. Cut the veggies into larger chunks for this soup, so they will not fall apart and disintegrate while simmering.
We will be adding different veggies at intervals, as some take longer time to cook than others. You don’t want veggies to turn into big mush, but instead to hold their individual shape and texture.
At this time, we also like to add more flavors into the broth. Add in bunches of cilantro, mint and green onion (they will set your Caldo apart from the rest), along with carrots and celery. Cook for another 30-40 minutes.
Add in potatoes and green beans. Cook for 10-15 minutes.
Time to add in corn and zucchini for another 10-15 minutes.
Finally, add cabbage and cook about another 10-15 minutes, till all the vegetables are cooked to perfection, yet hold a little crunch, especially the green beans and zucchini.
Discard the bones from the beef shank, and cut the larger meat chunks into your desired size.
How and What to Serve Caldo de Res With
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. 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.
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…
Storage, Freezing, and Reheating Instructions
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.
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. Have fun…
Caldo de Res, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- 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
- 3/4 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Simmer the Caldo, covered, anywhere in from 2.5 hours to 3 hour plus, till your meat is tender.
- 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.
- Add in potatoes and green beans. Cook for 10- 15 minutes, uncovered.
- Add corn and zucchini, simmer for another 10-15 minutes, uncovered.
- Add in zucchini, cook till all the vegetables are cooked, yet hold a little crunch, about 10-15 more minutes.
- Discard the bones from the beef shank, Cut the larger meat chunks into your desired size.
- Serve the caldo immediately with a dash of lime, cilantro and hot sauce or salsa (optional) .
Nutrition InformationYield 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.
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