Caldo de Res (Vegetable Beef Soup) + Video
Caldo de Res (Mexican Vegetable Beef Soup) is a hearty soup loaded with beef and vegetables. The soup bones and beef shank flavor the broth beautifully. Serve with a lime wedge and homemade salsa for a truly unforgettable meal that is sure to warm you up from the inside out.
This rustic soup is perfect for a winter day when you are chilled to the bones. It does take a bit of time to make, but the recipe for this vegetable beef soup is quite simple. Take advantage of your work-from-home situation and get a pot of this on the burner for dinner tonight!
This was one of my grandma Jesusita’s favorite dishes to prepare on Sundays when all her children would visit after mass. She lived near the Catholic church that most of our family grew up attending and so everyone would drop by after the service. Those were days I will cherish forever, all my tias, tios, and cousins around the table with our beautiful grandma.
This beef soup always had a place on the table and will forever hold a special place in my heart. If you are lucky enough to share a dinner table with your family, I can’t think of a better dish to serve them this winter.
This soup is healthy
Caldo de res is a traditional Mexican vegetable beef soup. My recipe calls for beef shank and soup bones, cabbage, carrots, celery, potatoes, zucchini, and tomatoes. It is best when slow simmered for at least two hours with the beef, bones, onion, and garlic for a rich beef broth.
If you have been feeling under the weather lately, or are just looking for a proactive immunity boost, this soup is perfect for the job. By using soup bones, you actually end up with what is known as a “bone broth,” which has many health benefits. Boasting all kinds of benefits from improved immunity, joint mobility and a hefty dose of vitamins and minerals, this soup is a holistic healer’s dream come true.
Adding the vegetables after the beef has cooked retains their bright colors, individual flavors, and just the right amount of crunch. All those pretty hues also carry their own nutritional benefits, making this meal both tasty and nourishing.
How to Make Caldo de Res
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 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until meat on bones is tender. Skim excess foam off the top as it forms and discard.
TIP: Anytime you prepare a soup recipe with tougher cuts of meat, you could cook the meat in a crockpot overnight or pressure cooker/Instant Pot (cover with plenty of water). Then, finish it on the stove top.
Add cabbage, carrots, celery, potatoes, zucchini, tomatoes, corn, tomato sauce, safflower petals, coriander seeds, and cilantro. Let it all cook for about 30 minutes, just until potatoes are fork tender, but not mushy.
Watch this video to learn how to make caldo de res.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are safflower petals, and do I have to use them?
Azafran (the Spanish word for Saffron) is the stamen of the safflower, while saffron as we know it is the stamen of the crocus. A thistle-like herb with an orange-red color, azafran gives food an orange tinge and imparts a heavenly, aromatic flavor to the soup.
If you are unable to source azafran, you can substitute saffron threads. Feel free to omit, it you do not have either.
How to serve this Mexican beef soup?
I love serving caldo de res with Mexican rice, salsa casera, and lime wedges on the side. Oh, and don’t forget the corn tortillas! If you are short on time or energy, though, this soup offers more than enough flavor and nutrition without the added sides.
How should I store leftovers?
Caldo de res freezes well in these plastic containers, which comes in very handy when you are not feeling well and need comforting.
Need some more cold weather dinner inspiration?
Check out some of my other favorite soups and stews:
- Oxtail Soup
- Veracruz-Style Cod
- Caldo de Pescado y Camaron (Fish and Shrimp Soup)
- Chicken Pozole Verde
- Red Pork and Hominy Stew (Pozole Rojo)
- Caldo de Pollo
- Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Albondigas Soup (Mexican Meatball Soup)
If you made this Caldo de Res recipe, please rate and review it below. I’d love to know how it turned out for you!
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Caldo de Res (Beef Soup)
- 11 cups water
- 1 1/2 pounds soup bones
- 1 1/2 pounds beef shank bones, cut into 3 or 4 pieces
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 white or yellow onion, cut in 1-inch squares
- 1/2 head 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
- 1/4 cup tomato sauce
- 1/4 tsp safflower petals, azafran
- 1/4 tsp whole coriander seeds, crushed
- 3 tbsp cilantro, chopped
- 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 2 1⁄2 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, salsa casera, and lime wedges on the side, and don’t forget the corn tortillas!
- Prepared soup can be frozen for up to three months.
- Anytime you prepare a soup recipe with tougher cuts of meat, you could cook the meat in a crockpot overnight or pressure cooker/Instant Pot (cover with plenty of water). Then, finish it on the stove top.
Originally published: January 2017
This recipe is also published in the Muy Bueno cookbook.