I'm run down. This is not surprising at all after two weeks of wisdom tooth drama, which included a painful surgery, and a dose of unexpected and horrific influenza; my body just shut down and although I feel way better now than I felt last week, I'm tired, cranky and my energy levels are at an all-time low. So lately, all I can think of is broths... restorative, nurturing and above all, really, really tasty.
When I was little, I used to dread 'caldo de res' days. Mam loved it and I just felt all those chunky veggies and the meat was way too crude and rustic. How wrong and silly of me! When I make some, I feel instatly better... like generations of Ramirez and Garzas are behind me, feeding me, nurturing me, making me regain my balance.
This is one of my favourite caldos (broths) now. It's simple to make and has all the goodness my body needs. It's light and super tasty. I make it in my pressure cooker, but if you don't have one, you can still make it in a large pot, just cooking time will increase to about 2 hours. In any case, it's totally worth the effort.
Serve it with some warm corn tortillas, some lime wedges and with a couple of spoonsfulls of this Salsa Cruda. Mexican caldos are often all about the toppings or acommpaniments, like raw onion and bananas for this beef Caldillo or the numerous toppings for the legendary Pozole Rojo. The raw salsa required for this caldo de res, is dead simple to make and it will give the broth some colour, brilliant flavour and a tiny bit of heat. Check out the recipe here.
Put the beef, water and the head of garlic unpeeled and salt in the pressure cooker and turn the heat to high. Secure the lid on and when the pressure cooker starts 'whistling', reduce the heat to medium and cook the meat for 30 minutes.
If you don't have a pressure cooker, you can use a large, heavy bottom pot with a lid. Bring the ingredients to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cooked cover until the meat is cooked and tender. This could take you up to an hour and a half depending on the cut of meat you use.
Prep all the vegetables. Cut the corn in the cob in 3 chunky slices, peeled and sliced the carrots, cut the cabbage in chunky bits, sliced the courgette and cut the french beans in thirds. Wash the potatoes, mint and coriander and set everything aside.
A word on potatoes. I don't peel my potatoes as I want them to keep their shape. You can peel them if you want. I choose mid size potatoes, if the potato is too big, I might cut it in half, but I try and keep them whole. I find some potatoes varieties tend to disintegrate into the broth if they're peeled and that wouldn't be good. So choose roosters if you can as they will remain firm.
Once your meat is ready, fish out the head of garlic with a slotted spoon and discard it. Carefully add all of the vegetables: the corn, potatoes, carrots, courgettes, cabbage and French beans. Follow by adding the coriander (stalks and all) and the mint.
Cover the pressure cooker again and turn on the heat back on to high. Once the pressure cooker starts whistling again, cook the broth and vegetables for 10 minutes. Switch off the heat and let everything rest until the pressure cooker can be opened again. Then your caldo is ready to serve!
If you are cooking this in a pot, cook the broth and vegetables covered for about 25 to 30 minutes or until the potatoes are fully cooked.
Serve your Caldo de Res with some warm corn tortillas, a squeeze of lime juice and most importantly, a couple of tablespoons of Salsa Cruda to add a lovely taste to it. Making the salsa cruda takes less than 10 minutes and it's totally worth it! Check the recipe here! Enjoy!