Beef Soup

Caldo de Res


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • 8 to 9


Appears in

Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor

Muy Bueno

By Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack

Published 2013

  • About

This was one of my mother Jesusita’s favorite dishes to prepare on Sundays when all her children would visit after church. She lived near the Catholic church that most of our family grew up attending and so everyone would drop by after mass. Along with her frijoles de la olla, green or red chile with beef, arroz, salsa casera, and of course, her hot-off-the-comal homemade flour tortillas, this beef soup always had a place on the table. Those were days I will cherish forever, all my siblings around the table with our beautiful mamá.


  • 11 cups water
  • pounds soup bones
  • pounds beef shank bones, cut into 3 or 4 pieces
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½ white or yellow onion, cut in 1-inch squares
  • ½ head of cabbage, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 2 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 Mexican zucchini, sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 fresh corn on the cob, cut into 1-inch slices
  • ¼ cup tomato sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon safflower petals (azafran)
  • ¼ teaspoon whole coriander seeds, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 3 limes, cut into wedges (optional)


Over high heat in a large stockpot, bring water to a boil.

Add soup bones, shank bones, salt, garlic, and onion and boil for about 10 minutes. Lower heat to low, cover pot, and simmer for about 2½ to 3 hours or until meat on bones is tender. Skim excess foam off the top as it forms and discard.

Add cabbage, carrots, celery, potatoes, zucchini, tomatoes, corn, tomato sauce, safflower petals, coriander seeds, and cilantro. Let it all cook for about 30 minutes, until potatoes are soft but not mushy.

Serve with Mexican rice and lime wedges on the side, and don’t forget the corn tortillas.