Monday, November 4, 2013

Beef Bulalo

Today we do a recipe from the region I live in Philippines, as the Beef Bulalo is traditionally made in the Tagaytay area. One could most probably put it as well in the soup category, but at the same time it is a bit like a stew. Of course this dish is not only cooked here in Tagaytay, but all over Philippines, especially in the areas where there is a lot of beef. The origin so is Southern Luzon....exactly where we are!

The main ingredient is the beef shank that is cut like the osso buco. The other main ingredient are Marrow bones, this gives the soup an extremely rich flavor and makes it even more delicious. The main difference is that this dish is cooked like a clear soup.

The flavor is absolutely amazing, the slow simmering brings out a beautiful beef flavor and with the bone marrow it makes a really great combination. Of course one has to add a lot of vegetables, some potatoes towards the end and at the very end the Chinese Cabbage, it should still be a little crisp when served. Many versions use as well Sweet Corn and/or Bok Choi, this is all up to you, prepare it the way you like it. For me the corn gives a strong flavor that detracts from the beef.

Now when it comes to cooking beef, there are different opinions about how it should be done. The traditional one is that you actually blanch the meat to get rid of all the impurities and to have a nice clear stock. This is done by putting the meat and bones in cold water, then it gets slowly brought to the boil, then the water gets poured off and the meat and bones get washed under cold know how much flavor you loose????

So I do prefer to keep as much flavor in my stock as possible which means that I start exactly the same way, I put my meat and bones in cold water, then I bring it very slowly to the boil. Now the secret comes, you need to take off all the foam that starts gathering at the top, this is called skimming the stock. Like this you will remove basically all the impurities, without loosing any of the flavor. I let the stock boil up one, just for a very short time, then I go down with the temperature till it just softly simmers.

If you have only little time there is another method, use the pressure cooker, like this you can cut the cooking time by half......we tried it out and it worked very well, I am just very classically inspired chef, so I prefer the traditional method, but like I said, the result was really, really good.
1 kg (2.2 lbs) Beef shank
500 g (1.1 lbs) Marrow bones
500 g (1.1 lbs) Onions
50 g (2 oz) Garlic
10 g (0.3 oz) Peppercorns
30 g (1 oz) Ginger
Patis (fish sauce)
500 g (1.1 lbs) Potatoes
500 g (1.1 lbs) Carrots
500 g (1.1lbs) Chinese Cabbage

Take about 3 liters of water, add the beef shank to it and bring slowly to the boiling point
During this time make sure you take off all the dirt and foam that comes to the top, ensuring a clean broth
Add Fish sauce, salt and peppercorns
Simmer on low temperature for at least an hour
Peel the carrots and onions and gut in big pieces/quarters
Add to the broth and simmer till everything is nice and soft
The meat must literally fall off the bone.
Just at the end add the Chinese Cabbage as it needs only a very short time cooking

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