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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Korean Beef Bone Soup

Feel-good beef bone soup. 

By Mango.

The other day, Panda's sister had mentioned how their mom used to make beef neck bone soup when they were little, and they would have it over rice. Simple and good. Panda had told me about this before too, and thinking about it, my mom used to make something similar, usually when she or one of us were feeling under the weather. She used goat marrow bones in her recipe, and would sometimes throw in lentils as well. I don't remember liking it as a child. But my tastes have changed, and after seeing a recipe that Panda's sister shared, I decided to try it out with a few changes, and was pleased with the results. With Fall just around the corner, this soup is perfect for making you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. And it freezes well too. Here are the ingredients that I used:

2 pounds beef bones
Plenty of water
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1-2 bunches spring onions, chopped
Half cup of mushrooms (Pick whatever kind you like. Not the happy kind. That's a different recipe altogether. We had dried chanterelles, so I used those)
Salt and pepper to taste.

Beef bones aren't the prettiest things around. They're all fatty and cartilagey. Yes, cartilagey. But that, together with whatever marrow is in there, yields amazing flavors and nutrients.

Beef bones.
The first thing to do is soak the bones in cold water for about 2 hours. I did the googles to find out why, and it turns out that it helps draw out the impurities and excess blood, so your soup doesn't end up a dirty grey color.

After the soak, discard the water. Fill a large, clean pot (stock pot or whatever you have) with water about 2/3 of the way. Bring to a boil. Gently plop in the bones. Bring to a boil again, and then reduce to a simmer. Let it simmer for 8 hours with a lid. Do not leave a pot over an open flame unattended. This dish is meant to be cooked on a day when you don't have a lot going on. House chores, perhaps. Do your laundry and come back and check on it once in a while. Say hello. Tell it about your work week. Ask it why Elena didn't pick Damon (I want answers!). 

Simmering away.
As you can see, it doesn't look like much while it simmers. It almost looks like dirty dish water, but I promise you that it will turn out well. You see that frothy stuff on the top? You will want to scoop that out periodically. We don't want froth.

After 8 hours, the liquid will have reduced a little in volume, and the color will be a faint golden brown. I forgot to take a picture of it at this point, because I'm useless. Discard the bones, because after 8 hours, they've given up all their goodness. As expected, the stock will have a really strong taste of beef bones. If you're not a fan of the flavor of bone marrow, you may not like it, because it's that flavor times infinity. But, the flavor lightens up a lot when you use it to make soup by throwing in other ingredients.  I used about a quart of the stock to make soup for Panda and myself, and froze the remaining. 

For the soup, I sauteed the chopped garlic, ginger, and half of the chopped spring onions for about 5 minutes. I added the bone stock, some salt and pepper to taste, brought it to a boil, and then reduced it to a simmer, and threw in half of the remaining spring onions. I added some of this simmering stock to the dried chanterelles. Once the mushrooms were rehydrated, I chopped those into really tiny pieces and added that, and the mushroom-stock juice, to the simmering soup. Cook on low heat for about an hour. Adjust with more salt and pepper according to your taste. Top with remaining fresh spring onions, and there you have it. Nutritious feel-good soup for cold days, warm days, bad days, good days. Your belly and soul will thank you for it. 

Beef bone soup with spring onion, garlic, and mushrooms.
Mango: How is it?
Panda: It reminds me of home.


  1. That looks soooooo god and I can smell it from here!

  2. Very different from Pho stock with many of the same ingredients. I love the addition of Chanterelles and can imagine just how much flavor they impart.

  3. Wow, the looks so good - sadly it is too damn hot out here for soup. We can't even bring ourselves to cook anything in the house.