Nilagang Baka or Bulalo? The two are very similar except for the addition of corn and beef shank for the latter. The beef is boiled for hours until fork tender and served with the shank jutting out from the bowl. After enjoying the Beef Shank Soup over rice, the bone is shaken vertically and vigorously over a plate. The stubborn marrow slides out in all its fatty-oily-amorphous deliciousness and passed around the table for all to enjoy.
Family dynamics are as complex and tough as the sheaths of tendon and muscle in a cut of chuck roast. But then, the relationship can also be tender and full of soul like the marrow found in a shank.
Years ago, while still living in the Philippines, my family and relatives met up in Tagaytay for a picnic. A popular tourist destination with bragging rights to a cooler climate and scenic overlook of Taal, the world’s smallest active volcano.
We are an amazingly big group of aunts, uncles, cousins, teens and kids. The adults excitedly planned to eat at a restaurant famous for it’s Bulalo on our way back to the city. Our convoy of cars and vans headed down the two lane road, passing slower vehicles and maneuvering through the oncoming traffic of buses, cars, jeepneys and tricycles. It was clear that there had been a miscommunication between the drivers when we got left behind. Our relatives thought we were meeting at the restaurant but we thought we were following the vehicles.
Cellphones did not exist for the masses at that time. Our aunts and uncles ordered multiple bowls of hot piping Bulalo or Beef Shank Soup for us, thinking we would appear a few minutes after they had. We never showed up and they were left with too many large bowls of soup gone cold on the table. The memory makes me chuckle now but I remember it being the source of heated discussions between the drivers for months. However, the result of the fiasco was very good. After that, our big family became experts on how to properly orchestrate a convoy for the many memorable road trips that followed through the years.
- Chuck Roast and Marrow Bone is a good and cheaper alternative to Beef Shanks Steaks.
- Trim fat off the chuck roast, leave fat between the meat (optional)
- One large marrow Bone is enough unless there’s risk of marrow envy then use 2 marrow bones
- No potatoes = low carb
- Recipe idea and helpful link below
Nilagang Baka – Beef Shank Soup with Cabbage and Green Beans
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 medium onion quartered
- 3 large cloves garlic smashed and peeled
- 3 lbs Beef Chuck cut about 2x2 inch cubes
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 Marrow bones
- 1/2 tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
- 5 cups water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 lb green beans ends trimmed
- 1 medium cabbage quartered or cut about 2x2 inch in size
- Heat oil on medium heat in stock pot
- Sauté Onions and garlic for 2 minutes
- Add beef and brown most sides
- Add fish sauce and pepper and mix
- Add marrow bones
- Lower heat to medium low and cover for 10 minutes
- Add water and salt, mix and bring to a boil
- Skim scum on surface of water, usually comes up after 2-5 minutes of boiling
- Lower heat to low, broth should be simmering not boiling
- Cover and cook for 1 hour and 30 to 45 minutes or until thick part of meat is fork tender
- Place green beans and cabbage on top of beef and broth
- Press down lightly to submerge most of the vegetables
- Cover and continue simmering for 20-30 minutes
- Serve with a dipping sauce of lemon and fish sauce
The usual recipe also calls for potatoes but it's optional.
Like this Recipe? Try Pork Tamarind Soup found here.
Here’s a helpful video for cutting a slab of chuck roast: The Healthy Butcher
Choose best cuts for Beef Stew here