Caldo de Res
"This is a beef stew similar to ones made in Nicaragua"Serves 8 to 10 | Prep Time 45 minutes | Cook Time 1 hour and 20 minutes
Why I Love This Recipe
Caldo de res is a popular dish in Nicaragua. The ingredients vary, but it must have beef, tomatoes, cabbage, yuca, corn, some kind of mild chile, and some kind of summer squash; otherwise, anything goes. My wife is from Nicaragua, and we have enjoyed caldo de res in friends' homes in Granada, Managua, and Leon.
As the dish is typically made in Central America, bones and fats
are left on the beef, the corn is left on the cobs (broken into 3-inch lengths), and the cabbage and roots are left in large pieces. To eat it, you must pick up the corn with your fingers, you must cut the vegetable chunks with your spoon (you may not be provided with a knife), you must eat around the meat bones somehow, and unless you like beef fat, you have to identify it in the stew and avoid it. The reason for cooking the corn on the cob and the meat on the bones in the stew is to capture the flavor of the inedible corn cob and the bones. Also, there is a "down home" feeling in having to pick around the bones and the corn cob as you eat the stew.
My version differs from the "authentic" version in the preparation and in the service. As a diner, I want all of the traditional flavors, but I prefer just to enjoy easy dining and good conservation -- so I don't want to be picking around bones or messing my hands with corn on the cob. (I recommend corn on the cob as a nice side dish for this stew.)
As a cook, I am willing to do a little extra work to make the food simple to eat, but to make sure that the flavor of bones, corn cobs, and other inedible parts is retained.
Ingredients You'll Need
3 lb beef shank, neck, etc. with bones
4 c beef stock
1 orange, cut into sections, with peels separate
1 head cabbage, a few large leaves and the rest cut into bite-size chunks
4 ears corn, both cobs and kernels cut from cobs
10 cloves garlic, chopped
2 lb beef stew meat (chuck, round, etc.), fat removed,
cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 onion, diced
1 medium yuca (cassava) tuber, peeled and cut into bite-size
1 quequisque (malanga) or taro root, cut into chunks
6 carrots, cut into chunks
1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced
28 oz can diced tomatoes
10 ears baby corn, cut into bite-size lengths
4 russet potatoes, cut into bite-size chunks
12 oz chayote, yellow or green squash, or pumpkin, cut into
1/2 c fresh cilantro, chopped
for garnish: lime, chopped onions, and/or chopped cilantro
In large pot, brown the beef that is on the bones (shank, etc.).
To the pot with the browned beef, add beef stock, orange peels with pith scraped off, orange sections, big cabbage leaves, corn cobs, and garlic; simmer 1 hour.
Remove beef from pot. Cut beef from bones, cut off any fatty pieces, and reserve the cleaned beef.
Remove orange peels, cabbage leaves, and corn cobs from broth in the pot.
Season the stew beef and saute in a separate skillet until brown. Add diced onion and saute 5 minutes longer.
Add the beef cut from bones back to the pot. Add the beef and onions that were sauteed together, along with the yuca, quequisque, malanga, or taro, carrots, and bell pepper to pot, and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add corn kernels, tomatoes, baby corn, potatoes, cabbage, squash, and cilantro to pot, and simmer for 30 minutes.
Garnish, and serve with or over rice and/or with hot corn tortillas.
Pairs Well With
Rice, corn on the cob, and warm corn tortillas.