Caldo de res: A Comforting and Nutritious Mexican Beef Soup

Caldo de Res, sometimes called also Cocido is a Mexican nutritious and budget-friendly soup loaded with beef meat, marrow bones, and different vegetables.

Two bowls with caldo de res on a tray with a bowl of salsa and lime wedges on the side.

What is Mexican caldo de res?

Caldo de Res A.K.A Cocido is a hearty Mexican soup made with beef meat and bones. The dish is very versatile and includes so many variations from around Mexico. Vegetables are added depending on what’s in season, personal preferences, and even dietary styles.

Caldo de Res is well known in Latin American cuisine, most likely because we inherited it from Spain where recipes such as puchero and cocido Madrileño are part of their traditional cuisine.

In Latin America, every country will have its own version of this soup but today I want to share how a traditional Mexican Caldo de Res is made. Because let me tell you that the broth is so delicious and full of flavor thanks to the bones used to make this hearty soup.

A close up on caldo de res on a bowl.

My mom’s Cocido

One of my most loved memories about my mother and her cooking is Caldo de Res. Growing up in a state where the weather is hot almost all year, you might think she will rarely make this type of dish at home, but truth is, my mother, like many Mexican moms, used to serve Caldo de Res even if it was 100+°F outside!.

I remember coming back from school, sweaty and thirsty and craving something fresh to eat and my mom will place in front of me a huge steaming bowl loaded with vegetables. Oh boy…the vegetables. I hate them. Every single one of them.

Two bowls with caldo de res placed on an enamel tray with a bowl of salsa and lime wedges on the side.

My mother used to serve the best caldo de res recipe with arroz rojo and molcajete salsa tatemada. She will always serve first the broth and veggies, then the meat alongside the rice, but ONLY after we’ve eaten the cocido and the vegetables.

But well, all those are now memories and actually, I love, truly love, caldo de res. Especially because is a dish so easy to make here where I live and I can find easily all ingredients. Of course, unlike my mother, I only make it in the coldest months.

Is this recipe good for you?

Since caldo de res is made with beef bones and lots of vegetables, this recipe is definitely good for you. Bones broth has many health benefits such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus. Marrow bones also provide Omega-3, vitamin A, vitamin K2, iron, manganese, selenium, and zinc among others.

The best beef meat for making this Mexican stew is the one on the cheap side, meaning the one with cartilage and full of connective tissue, which provides you with glucosamine and chondroitin, good for joint mobility.

Caldo de res on a pot.

And then the multiple health benefits from the fresh vegetables that complete this delicious and nourishing soup. Read more about the health benefits of bone marrow broth.

Slow or Fast Cooking?

With the popularity of the Instant Pot appliance, you might want to try and make this recipe using one. You can do so, of course, it will accelerate the cooking time considerably.

However, I strongly recommend you try this recipe first with the conventional method of using your stove. Or you can also try with a slow cooker if you own one. Slow Cooking has been always my favorite method for this type of stews. Read more about why is slow cooking good for you.

Ingredients needed

THE MEAT. First, use soup bones and marrow bones, those are the best addition for this beef caldo. Second, if you can find chamberete (beef shank) where you live, go for it because the traditional dish is made with it. If not, you can always use beef chuck, or ribs (which have some fat).

A enamel tray with various cuts of beef meat, such as bones and beef chuck.

VEGETABLES. You can add the vegetables that you like the most or that you have on hand. Like zucchini or Mexican squash, chayotes, carrots, cabbage, potatoes, green beans, peas, leeks, etc.

FLAVORS. Garlic, onion, and cilantro were the ones my mother always used. I still prepare it that way, but in many parts of Mexico they add other fresh herbs and it tastes equally delicious, for example, epazote, marjoram, and thyme, among others.

A bunch of fresh epazote on a wooden surface.
Fresh Epazote.

How to Make Caldo de Res Recipe

Wash the meat very well and let it soak for half an hour in water. Discard the soaking water and transfer the meat to a large pot then cover with water for about 2 inches (5 cm). Add a tablespoon of salt, garlic, and onion.

Cocido meat in a pot with onion, garlic, and salt.

Bring to a boil and cook over medium-high heat. With a spoon, discard the foam that will form during the first half-hour of cooking.

Removing the foam from the pot with a slotted spoon.

Set the heat to medium-low, cover the pot and cook for about an hour and a half (cooking times could vary, please read notes).

*While the meat is cooking, prepare the vegetables that you want to add. Wash them, peel them, and cut them into chunks more or less about the same size.

Caldo de res cooking after one hour in a large stockpot.

When the meat will be nicely cooked and tender, and this depends on the type of cut you have used, add the vegetables, cilantro, and tomato paste (the last is optional). Use a spoon to mix a bit and allow the vegetables to be fully immersed in the broth.

The vegetables just added to the pot with meat.

Continue cooking for another 20-25 minutes or long enough for the vegetables to cook perfectly. Adjust salt to taste, turn off the heat and serve as suggested below.

Caldo de res already cooked on a large stockpot.

How to serve this recipe

Serve this hearty dish with corn tortillas, blue corn tortillas, or also chochoyotes (corn dumplings). Rice is the common side dish, and you can choose what kind of recipe you prefer since it can be served with red rice, white rice, and even green rice if you like.

A spicy salsa is a must so is a squeeze of lime. The typical sauce to serve with Cocido is Salsa de Molcajete, which makes the dish even more outstanding.

Chile de árbol salsa is also perfect, so is tomatillo red salsa. But if you want something spicier, try this Mexican chili oil.

Caldo de res served on a white ceramic bowl with another bowl of red rice on the side.

Storage, Freezing, and Reheating Instructions

  • Always allow to cool down before storing your cocido de res leftovers.
  • Place leftovers in an airtight container and store them in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.
  • Or freeze in a freezer-proof container for up to 3 months.
  • Thaw your Mexican stew overnight, then transfer it to a stock pot and heat it up in the stove over medium-low heat.
  • Or reheat in a microwave safe container in 3 minutes intervals.

Watch How To Make It

Did you know? – There’s another Mexican stew called mole de olla which is very similar to this Mexican cocido recipe. Is made exactly as this I am sharing, but with the addition of a guajillo sauce. You should really give it a try!

Caldo de res recipe.

Caldo de Res Recipe

Caldo de Res, sometimes called also Cocido is a Mexican nutritious and budget-friendly soup loaded with beef meat and different vegetables.
PREP 15 minutes
COOK 3 hours
resting time 30 minutes
TOTAL 3 hours 45 minutes
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Servings: 6
Author: Maricruz

Ingredients 

  • 2.2 lb beef shank (1 kg)
  • 1.5 lb marrow bones (650 g)
  • 2 fresh corn in the cob (cut into 3 pieces each)
  • 2 large potatoes
  • 3 medium carrots
  • ½ small cabbage
  • 4 medium zucchini
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste (optional)
  • 7 oz green beans
  • 1 medium onion (cut into half)
  • 2 garlic cloves (skin on)
  • 1 small bunch cilantro
  • salt (to taste)

Instructions

  • Wash the meat very well and let it soak for half an hour in water.
  • Discard the soaking water and place the meat in a large pot well covered with water for about 2 inches (5 cm). Add a tablespoon of salt, garlic, and onion.
  • Bring to a boil and cook over high heat. With a spoon discard the foam that will form during the first half-hour.
  • Set the heat to medium-low, cover the pot and cook for about an hour and a half.
  • While the meat is cooking, prepare the vegetables. Wash them, peel them, and cut them into chunks.
  • When the meat will be very soft and tender, add the vegetables.
  • Continue cooking for another 20-25 minutes or long enough for the vegetables to cook perfectly.
  • Adjust salt to taste and make sure there is enough liquid to cover the ingredients. Turn off the heat and serve.

NOTES

HOW TO SERVE CALDO DE RES
I strongly suggest to serve this hearty dish with corn tortillas and mexican rice. You can choose what kind of rice you prefer since it can be served with red rice, white riceand even green rice if you like.
A nice, spicy salsa is a must so a squeeze of lime!. The typical sauce to serve with Cocido is Salsa de Molcajete, it makes the dish even more outstanding. But if you want something more smokey and spicy try this chile de árbol sauce.
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Recipe Rating




4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Made this last night and it was so delicious! I totally fell in love with this Mexican soup! Thanks a lot for sharing the recipe

  2. 5 stars
    Thank you, I used beef shank as you suggested. I didn’t have bones and couldn’t buy some so I went without.

    It was delicious! One of the most amazing soups out there. I also made red rice and salsa btw :)