Filipino Bulalo

I often wish that there would always be a pot of soup of the stove. Warm and ready to go any time of the day, all day, and every day. How cool would that be, especially if you had a wood burner or something and it was your task to keep that warm pot of goodness warm all day long. I know I would be into something like that! I don’t want to be premature but I think fall sprung in Wisconsin. What does that mean? Well, what it means every fall Sunday at the Phillips house; comfort food season.

This weekend was no exception. The chicken pot pie came rolling out as did pumpkin spiced ‘you name it desserts’, as well as soup. The thought of soup seemed like a warm blanket on a cold afternoon. Granted chicken pot pie is that thickening agent that just coats your stomach lining, and almost putting you instantly to sleep, but that soup on the otherhand, well that got me thinking. Thinking not only about how delicious each bite would be, but thoughts of making a rustic bread,, and leaving that soup of the stove all darn day only to be had more of later. That’s when I thought of the communal Filipino soup known as Bulalo.

Filipino Bulalo Soup Recipe
Filipino Bulalo Soup Recipe

The thing about bulalo is that it might be intimidating if it is served in front of you without ever have tried it. It’s almost like a Mexican caldo de res where you get large chunks of meat and vegetables. It’s definitely a spoon, fork, knife, and hand meal so probably best to eat around close friends and family in case you get down and dirty and want to roll up your sleeves, not have a care in the world and just get to town on some bone marrow!

Yes, the bone marrow. It’s the luxurious part of this soup and part of the beauty. Beef bones with marrow, cooked really low and slow until pot roast tender. That’s this soup. Simple, delicious, and slurpable.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 lbs of beef shanks
  • water
  • 2 bundles of bok choy, quartered whole
  • 3 ears of corn, cut into half, or quarters
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 2 tbsp black peppercorns
  • pinch of salt, to taste
  • 1 head garlic, top cut off (exposing cloves)
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce, more to your liking
  • 1/2 small green cabbage, roughly chopped
  • limes, optional
  • cooked jasmine rice, per serving
  • fried shallots, optional
  • fried garlic, optional

Start by adding cold water to a stock pot. Add the beef shanks (find these on the cheap at local Mexican grocery stores), and turn on the heat to a medium high heat.

Cook the shanks for about 15 minutes or until they come to a boil for about 5 minutes. During the boil, get a large spoon out and skim the top surface of all of the bone scum. Discard the scum. We are going to discard the water and scum anyway but it’s always nice to get rid of the majority ahead of time.

Put a strainer in your sink and pour the beef and water into the strainer. Rinse the beef well.

Rinse out the stock pot. Place the bones back in the pot along with the onion, garlic, and peppercorns. Fill to cover with water, and return to a boil.

Filipino Bulalo Soup Recipe
Filipino Bulalo Soup Recipe

While the beef is boiling, continue to skim off any scum that comes to the surface and discard. After about 4 hours, remove the garlic, onion, and any peppercorns.

Season the stock with fish sauce and some salt. Stir and taste. If the stock is getting a bit low, add a bit more water to your liking, just keep the beef stock flavored as you add more water.

Add in the corn and cook on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or so. Once the beef is ultra tender, add in the bok choy and cabbage. I tossed in a small amount of fresh green beans from our garden as well (not necessary), and give that a good stir. Good for another 10 minutes or so, give a taste and adjust salt if necessary.

When you are ready to serve, transfer some of the soup mixture into a soup serving bowl, ensuring some beef bone, corn, and cabbage, then give a good squeeze of lime. Serve alongside a big bowl of cooked jasmine rice, and dig in! I like to top mine with fried garlic chips and shallots, and some fresh chili, but that’s just me.

Not only is this a great communal dish, but it is one that is perfect for long, cold days and evenings, and one that is sure to please a crowd.

Get a plate. Take some rice onto the plate. Slurp some broth. Spoon out some chunks of cabbage or beef onto the rice. Get into it. Repeat.

Hope you enjoy!

Laotian Khao Poon

Hands down one of my favorite soups is probably Khao Poon. It is a Norther Thai or Lao soup that is not only super easy to make, but it makes a bunch and screams comfort. It is not a spicy soup, however you can make this as spicy as you want, not only with the broth, but accompanying it with Thai chili peppers. I wanted to make this one for my wife this past weekend because it reminded me when I was laid up with cancer over the summer and my friend Matt stopped by with a batch of Khao Poon that his wife had made. Not only talk about a great friend, but a really comforting bowl of soup during a not so comforting time.

Now my wife is hooked on this awesome soup as well. It’s an easy sell, trust me.

Khao Poon Recipe
Khao Poon Recipe

The cool thing about making this batch is when I was shopping for some ingredients at a local grocery store, is the owner had asked me what I was cooking. I said ‘Khao Poon’, and he was a bit startled and said ‘You know how to make that?’. He asked me about what ingredients I was using and suggested a couple of different things, one being banana blossom. I was intrigued to say the least as it is something I have never used before. So while walking out of the Asian grocery store, I was on my way to making a great batch of Khao Poon.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3 whole chicken breasts, skin on, bone in
  • water to cover
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, slightly smashed, optional
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 cup of shallots, minced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp fresh galangal, skin removed, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz can red curry paste
  • 4 oz can sweet Thai Noodle paste
  • 14 oz can of coconut milk
  • 1 cup of banana blossom, very thinly sliced, optional
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 3 cups bamboo shoots, roughly chopped
  • 1 whole lime
  • Thai chilies, optional
  • Shredded green cabbage
  • 1 cup bean sprouts, per serving
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • Khao Poon rice noodles, cooked al dente

Start by adding your chicken to a stock pot and cover entirely with cold water. Bring this to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium. Skim off any scum that floats to the top and discard. Continue cooking for about 45 minutes. This will not only be the chicken that we let cool, shred, and pound a bit, but what is left will be the stock that we use for our soup. Win, win.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the stock, and let it completely cool. Once cooled, remove and discard the skin, and then start shredding the chicken. Once the chicken is shredded, take about half of it and add it to your mortar. Take your pestle and begin pounding the chicken. A few good moments of pounding is all you should need.

Ok, now onto the next step.

Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add in the oil and let it come to temperature. Next toss in the shallots, garlic, and thinly sliced galangal. Let this cook for a minute or so, then add in both of the curry pastes. Give this a good stir, and don’t be alarmed if this stuff starts popping at you.

Cook the paste, stirring along the way, for about 2-3 minutes, then add in all of the chicken. Give this another good stir, incorporating all of the paste into the chicken. Next add in the coconut milk. Give another good stir, and then pour all of this into the chicken stock. Stir well, bring the stock back onto medium heat, and let it come to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat by half, and then add in the banana blossom, bamboo shoots, and fish sauce. Give another good stir and cook for about 45 minutes.

Khao Poon Ingredients
Khao Poon Ingredients

During this time, make your noodles. Cook them for about 8 minutes, then strain them and rinse them in cold water. Once the water is strained, and the noodles are cooled, take a handful and wind them up into bundles. Repeat until all noodles are in nice bundles.

Have your cabbage, limes, chilies, and herbs ready. Raise the heat on the soup and bring back to a boil. Take a couple of bundles of noodles, or just one, and place in the bottom of a large soup bowl.

Add some bean sprouts, and cabbage, and give a good squeeze of lime. Ladle in a generous amount of khao poon, and top with come bird eye chili. Get your spoon and chop sticks ready! Face down, grab some noodles, slurp, and repeat. It’s all about texture (and flavor) in this bite. You get the crunch of the cabbage and sprouts, the tenderness of the chicken, and my gosh that coconut curry flavor! If you are looking for a flavor bomb, and a comforting soup year round, then this is the one. Hope you enjoy!

Mexican Shrimp and Fish Soup

I frequent a local Mexican Taqueria probably twice a week. Please don’t judge me. There is something about the vibe, the people, and the food that completes my day. I often kick myself when I leave from these lunch spots because I typically default to tacos. I love tacos, and again, please don’t judge me. But while I wait for my tacos, which doesn’t take long at all, I gaze at what others are ordering, and then I question my order. One particular week I was just stunned by this bowl of soup that a couple of locals ordered and I had to question my waitress as to what they ordered. As I always do, I make every attempt to use the Mexican language that I took for about 10 years of my life, and found out that it was a Mexican shrimp and fish soup.

Heck, I did not even pay attention to my tacos during my lunch. I was paying attention to the soup that these locals were slurping, and eating. They were pulling out whole, cooked, shrimp while at the same time slurping on this delicious broth and taking down tender vegetables. I was all over that stuff and decided to make this Mexican shrimp and fish soup for my weekly soup.

Mexican Fish and Shrimp Soup Recipe
Mexican Fish and Shrimp Soup Recipe

This soup reminds me of comfort and simplicity, and it is loaded with this awesome seafood flavor. It’s a true delight.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 whole onion, diced
  • 6 Mexican pulla peppers, seeds and stems removed
  • 14 oz can of fire roasted tomatoes, diced
  • 6 cups of vegetable stock
  • 3 whole carrots, cleaned and cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 3 yukon gold potatoes, cleaned, and cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 3 tilapia fillets
  • 15 whole shrimp, deveined
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Mexican rice, cooked (optional)
  • corn tortillas, warmed (optional)

The soup itself is really simple, but pretty complex in flavors. It actually reminds me of a mix between an Italian cioppino and a Mexican chicken tortilla soup and I love everything about those two!

Start by heating the oil in a soup pot on medium heat. Add in the onions and sweat those down for about 7 minutes, stirring along the way. Toss in the garlic and whole chilies. Give that another good stir, and cook for a few more minutes. Add in the fire roasted tomatoes, and about a cup of stock. Stir, then add this mixture to a blender.

Blend until smooth, and strain the mixture back into the soup pot. This will remove any of the chilies that did not blend.

Mexican Fish and Shrimp Soup Ingredients
Mexican Fish and Shrimp Soup Ingredients

Add in the carrots, potatoes, and fish fillets. Stir, and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and let this cook until the potatoes are slightly tender.

During this time, make the rice if you are going that route. I always see the locals at the Taqueria eating their soup with some rice, and warm tortillas. They know what’s up so that is the route that I take.

Once the potatoes are tender, add in the whole shrimp, shells and head. Yep, the whole thing. If you are not into that then by all means just use cleaned shrimp. I like the experience and flavor so I keep them whole, but clean them of their dirty vein before throwing them in.

Let those shrimp poach for a few minutes. They don’t take long. Then get your ladle out and get that soup into a bowl. Make sure you get everything. The fish will fall apart so don’t worry. Shower some fresh cilantro and lime juice on top, and serve alongside some hot Mexican rice, and get a few tortillas ready as well.  The result is a soup so comforting on a cool day. It’s really a perfect seafood soup and one that I was glad to gaze at during my lunch last week. I hope you enjoy!

Posole Verde or is it Pozole Verde

My wife and I (and my family for that matter) have been on a soup kick since late fall. Soup is so comforting.  We have so many favorites. My wife’s go to soup is probably Chicken Tortilla Soup whereas mine is probably Vietnamese pho, or this (or any type) Mexican Posole Verde. The thing I love about posole is that you can go the red (rojo) route, or go green (verde) and that it is loaded with hominy. I love hominy. This soup is super easy to make, makes a bunch, and is packed full of comfort.

Mexican Posole Verde Recipe
Mexican Posole Verde Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 8 large green tomatillos, husked
  • 2 whole onions, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 whole jalapeno chilies, seeds removed is optional
  • 1 serrano chili, seeds removed is optional
  • 25 oz can of hominy, drained
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 green cabbage, shredded
  • 6 whole radishes, thinly sliced
  • salt to taste
  • cracked black pepper to taste
  • lime, quarted, optional
  • corn tortillas, warmed

Start by adding the chicken to a soup pot. Add the chicken stock, and 1 chopped onion. Next, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. To a baking sheet, add the remaining onion, tomatillos, garlic, jalapeno, and serrano chilies.

Mexican Posole Verde Recipe
Mexican Posole Verde Recipe

Bake for about 30 minutes until everything is well roasted. Add these ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove the chicken from the stock. Let it cool until you can shred or chop. Your call on this one.

Pour the chili blend into the soup pot, along with the drained hominy. Return the chicken back to the pot, give a good stir, and cook for about 30 minutes. Taste and season with salt if you desire.

To serve, ladle a nice amount into a bowl and serve alongside warm tortillas, shredded cabbage, radish, and lime. Spoon in some of the sides, taking bites of warm tortillas. Repeat. Now I need to make another batch! I hope you enjoy.