Caldo de Res is Mexican soup with beef and tender vegetables in flavorful bone broth. Make this recipe for a nourishing and comforting vegetable beef soup!
A bowl of homemade soup is the perfect answer to some of life’s biggest questions. For example:
“What can I do besides take medicine to help me get over a cold?” The answer is, eat some Instant Pot chicken noodle soup.
“What can I make for dinner that’s quick, easy to make, and my picky kids will eat it?” That’s where albondigas (Mexican meatball soup) comes to the rescue. Almost all kids love meatballs!
“What’s a good, inexpensive meal to make for game day?” Simple answer is, make a huge pot of potato cheeseburger soup! It sure beats grilling burgers outdoors on a cold winter day.
And finally, “What’s a healthy Mexican soup that’s hearty and delicious but not full of calories from cheese and heavy cream?” This recipe is the answer!
Caldo de Res
This dish may very well be the best vegetable beef soup you’ll ever eat. Seriously! In English, the Spanish word “caldo” means broth and “res” (or de res) means beef (or cow). It also goes by the Spanish name sopa de res.
- Beef– Yes, there are recipes for this Mexican soup that use chicken, but honestly, it isn’t caldo de res without the beef. In Spanish, a chicken version would be called caldo de pollo!
This recipe calls for bone-in beef shank, because the marrow in large hind shank bones is where the rich beef flavor comes from.
This being said, if you want extra beef, you can add pieces of chuck roast to the soup, which is what I did. If you want beef flavor without the extra protein, use a cube of beef bouillon instead.
- Bone broth– One thing that makes this recipe so fantastic is that the soup base is a self-cooking bone broth. In case you haven’t heard, the list of bone broth benefits is pretty long. For starters, bone marrow is rich in collagen, so it promotes healthy nails, hair, and joints.
- Vegetables– There are loads of fresh vegetables in this dish, and if you don’t like the ones I’ve chosen, there aren’t any set rules on what you can use. Nearly every caldo de res recipe calls for diced potatoes and fresh corn on the cob, though.
Mini cobs of corn look gorgeous in the bowl! If you don’t have access to fresh corn, or you don’t like it, leave it out, or use frozen corn kernels instead.
If your garden is full of zucchini, green beans, broccoli or tomatoes at the end of summer, use them up in this recipe! Really, pretty much anything goes.
Video: Making Vegetable Beef Soup
Making caldo de res couldn’t be simpler! To see the process from start to finish, watch the video in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Tips for Making Soup
- Choose vegetables that are similar in size and density. This ensures that everything cooks evenly. If you want to use both soft and hard vegetables, wait until half way through the cook time to add the soft ones.
- Cut vegetables into larger sized pieces to prevent overcooking.
- Cook the bone broth longer if possible. When you make soup from scratch, it can take a while for the flavors to develop. If you’re crunched for time, you can add other ingredients to brighten the beef flavor. Another option is to allow extra time for the broth to simmer.
Make the broth a day ahead of time if you want, and/or use an Instant Pot or slow cooker. Just be sure that you develop all of the beef flavor you want before you add the veggies and spices. Otherwise, the vegetables are likely to over cook.
Storing and Freezing Caldo de Res
If you have any leftovers, refrigerate them in an airtight container and serve again or freeze the leftovers within 5 days.
The Mexican soup freezes beautifully, but to prevent freezer burn, allow it to cool completely first.
When it’s cool, transfer the vegetable beef soup into airtight, freezer-safe containers. If you’re short on freezer space, use freezer storage bags instead of containers. Lay them flat in the freezer so they take up less space.
Caldo de Res – Vegetable Beef Soup +Video
- 2 lbs beef shank bones
- 1 lb beef chuck cubed (See Note 1)
- 3 cloves garlic smashed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 2 yellow potatoes cut into eight pieces
- 2 ears corn shucked and cut into 2 inch pieces
- 4 carrots sliced into thick coins
- 1 large jalapeño sliced into rings
- 1/2 head cabbage cut into quarters
- 2 zucchini cut into thick coins
- 14 oz chickpeas drained
- 2 mint sprigs
- 1/2 cup cilantro chopped
- 2 limes quartered
- In a large dutch oven or soup pot, add 10 cups water, beef shanks, beef chuck, garlic, bay leaves, and the salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 90 minutes, or until the meat is tender. Skim off and discard any brown foam floating at the top.
- Remove the beef shank/bones and with a slotted spoon remove the pieces of cooked beef chuck, bay leaves and garlic cloves. Transfer cooked beef shank/bones to a bowl, and set aside to cool. Transfer cooked beef chuck pieces to a small bowl. Discard the bay leaves and garlic cloves. Taste, and add 1 beef bouillon cube to the pot if more beef flavor is desired.
- Add the potatoes, corn, carrots, jalapeno and 2 cups of water to the pot.
- Bring soup to a boil, then add the cabbage, zucchini, chickpeas and mint (See Note 2). Cover and turn heat to simmer and cook until vegetables are tender and cooked through, (check potatoes and carrots with fork), about 15 minutes.
- While the vegetables are cooking, pick over and remove any bits of meat from the bones and discard bones. Add meat to small bowl with beef chuck. Chop the meat into small bite size chunks and add to soup pot. Cook another 5 minutes to heat meat through.
- Remove mint sprigs and discard. Season with salt and pepper, stir everything thoroughly. Serve soup in large bowls, making sure that each bowl gets a little bit of everything. Serve and top each bowl with cilantro, freshly squeezed lime juice and warm tortillas (optional).
- Most traditional recipes call for just the meat off the beef shanks. I found this too little for the effort, so I add pieces of beef chuck. Beef short ribs work as well.
- I add the cabbage, zucchini, and chickpeas after everything has come to a boil so they do not over cook and become mushy.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.