Caldo de Res (Beef Soup)

Happy New Year amigos. I hope you had a holiday filled with peace, love, and delicious food.

The weather was quite warm in Colorado during the holidays. But today as I type this blog post little snow flurries are falling and it is only 15 degrees outside. Burrrr!

This rustic soup is perfect for a winter day when you are looking for something to warm you from the inside out. It’s a simple soup to make, but it does take time to make. Unlike caldo de pollo, another favorite soup, this soup is made with beef, which takes longer to cook than chicken. This soup is best when slow simmered for at least two hours with the beef, bones, onion, and garlic for a rich beef broth. The key to this soup is to add the vegetables after the beef has cooked. This soup has simple ingredients such as carrots, celery, potatoes, zucchini, tomatoes, corn, and cabbage. Serve with Mexican rice, salsa casera, and lime wedges on the side, and don’t forget the corn tortillas.

This was one of my grandma 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. This beef soup always had a place on the table. Those were days I will cherish forever, all my tias, tios, and cousins around the table with our beautiful grandma.

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 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
  • 1⁄4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon safflower petals (azafran)
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon whole coriander seeds, crushed 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 3 limes, cut into wedges (optional)


  1. Over high heat in a large stockpot, bring water to a boil.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Serve with Mexican ricesalsa casera, and lime wedges on the side, and don’t forget the corn tortillas.
More recipes available at This recipe is also published in Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor

I’d love to see what you cook!

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