Beef in Broth (Beef Nilaga)
I was hesitant, at first, about featuring a recipe that is from the Philippines. But I grew up eating this stuff and I can attest, through experience, that many cultures across the world have their own version of a beef stew / beef soup like this. Slight nuances in the choice of ingredients and method of cooking may set one stew apart from another, but one thing is certain: people find comfort in such a dish.
Why I love this kind of stew is because it is easier to make than expected. The only downside is (if you even consider this as one) could be the cooking time, which is up to 2 hours! That said, you can literally rough chop and throw everything together in a pot of water, then forget about it until later!
This kind of dish I really enjoy making: it’s simple; it’s rustic; it’s unpretentious. And unlike the process of cooking French or Italian food – where I use 2 to 3 pots or pans at the same time – this only makes use of 1!
It’s interesting to note that in a country like the Philippines, this dish transcends social class. It has graced the tables of both the wealthy and the not-so-wealthy, differing only in the quality of meat used. I can imagine this type of soup being perfect for a rustic meal at a farm, where ingredients are fresh! So, get your steamed white rice or crusty bread ready…
P.S. Check Giveaway post here for winner of cookbooks!
- 1.5 kilograms (3.3 pounds) bone-in beef short ribs or beef shank, cut into large cubes.
- 2 large onions, cut in quarters lengthwise
- 2 celery stalks, cut in quarters crosswise
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 8 whole peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt + more for seasoning
- 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) potatoes, preferably Yukon Gold or mini potatoes, peeled and halved or quartered
- 10 stalks your choice of bok choy, baby bok choy, or Shanghai choy, with the bases chopped off and leaves separated.
- patis or fish sauce to taste (optional)
- Soak beef ribs or shank in a large bowl of cold water and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Drain the water.
- Place beef in a lidded pot, and cover with cold water, approximately 12 to 16 cups. Cover with lid and bring water to a boil on high heat. Then reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes.
- Throw out the water and drain the short ribs in a colander, then rinse and wipe the pot clean.
- Return the ribs to the pot, cover with cold water.
- Add onions, celery, garlic, peppercorn, and kosher salt. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower heat and simmer until meat is tender, about 2 hours. Season your broth with salt at the end of the cooking time.
- Add the potatoes and cook on low heat for 15 minutes or until almost tender.
- Remove onion, celery, and garlic from broth and skim any debris that may have floated to the top.
- Add the greens and cook on low heat until the leaves turn bright green, about 1 to 2 minutes. Try not to overcook the vegetables. Add fish sauce (optional) to taste or add more salt, as needed.
- At this point, if you prefer, strain your broth through a fine mesh sieve to remove any debris.