Russian-Mexican beef soup: Caldo ruso de res
This dish is obviously a holdover from the Mennonites' days as grain farmers in the Ukraine, with the distinctly Mexican additions of chile and tomato. The original recipe calls for the cut of beef called chamorro, or shanks, which provides a much richer taste than other cuts for soups. Use bone-in beef shanks because, like the Italian oso bucco, this recipe gets a lot of its character from the marrow at the center of the crosscut shanks.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 pounds meaty, bone-in beef shanks
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 3 medium carrots, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 chiles de arbol or other small, dried red chiles
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 sprigs parsley
- 8 peppercorns
- 4 cups water
- 4 cups beef broth
- 4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
- 2 cups shredded cabbage
- 2 cups peeled, diced tomatoes (substitute canned diced tomatoes if desired)
- sour cream for garnish
In a stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the oil, add the beef shanks and sear until browned on both sides. Remove the meat to a plate and add the celery, carrots and onion. Sauté the vegetables, stirring, until the onion begins to wilt. Add the chiles and cook another minute.
Return the meat, with any accumulated juices, to the pot and add the bay leaves, parsley, peppercorns, water, beef broth, potatoes, cabbage and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, lower flame to medium, cover and cook until meat is almost done, about 1 hour.
Remove meat from soup, cut meat off bones into bite-size pieces. Scoop marrow from bones. Return beef and marrow to pot and continue cooking another 30 minutes.
Serve in deep soup bowls, garnished with a dollop of sour cream. Serves 8.