How to make Hearty Beef and Vegetable Soup and the recipes of Hearty Beef and Vegetable Soup

Hearty Beef and Vegetable Soup

Beef and vegetable soup spells comfort food in any culture. Grandma Merla See (see page 100) cooked this Chinese-influenced version for her family using whatever vegetables were in her refrigerator. She’d add tomatoes if she wanted a thicker, spicier soup or leave it as a clear broth without. “It depended on my mood that day,” she explains.

Time: 3 hours (30 minutes active)
Makes: 6 to 8 first-course servings or 4 main-course servings


  • 2 pounds beef shanks or any meaty soup bones (or a combo of bones and stew beef)
  • 4 quarts water
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed with the flat part of a cleaver or large knife
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cut into eighths (1½ cups)
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch-thick rounds (1 cup)
  • 1 large potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (2 cups)
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into eighths and separated
  • 1 small daikon radish, peeled and cut into 1-inch-thick rounds (1½ cups)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground white or black pepper
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into ½-inch-thick slices (1 cup)
  • ¼ head small cabbage, cored and cut into 1½-inch squares (2 cups)
  • Chopped green onions for garnish
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish


  1. Rinse the shanks thoroughly in cold running water to remove all traces of blood and reduce the amount of residue in the soup.
  2. In a large stockpot, combine the bones and water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Skim off any scum or foam that rises to the surface. Toss in the garlic and reduce the heat to medium. Cover and simmer gently for 2½ to 3 hours, or until the meat is tender. Remove the shanks and scrape the meat from the bones. Discard the bones.
  3. Return the meat to the soup. Tumble in the tomatoes, carrots, potato, onion, and daikon. Cover and simmer for another 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are crisp tender.
  4. Add the soy sauce, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired. Add the celery and cabbage and simmer until they’re tender but still crispy, 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Serve immediately in soup bowls or ladle over rice for a complete meal. Garnish with green onions and cilantro.

Pat’s Notes: If you prefer a meatier soup, substitute 1½ pounds lean stewing beef for the shanks. Trim any visible fat and silver skin from beef. Rinse thoroughly and proceed as above.

Grandma Says: Boil the beef bones a day ahead and refrigerate so you can skim the fat from the broth before making the soup.

Storage: Store the beef broth in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

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