Initially, I was going to call this my mom's picadillo.
My mother and I have a daily ritual of talking via overseas call for hours on end. Our topics are nothing in particular really, mostly just about the usual day to day stuff like what I ate for dinner, what she ate for dinner. One night last month, I was telling her about the delicious beef picadillo I prepared for lunch and she mentioned having tried a better one made with beef bones, potatoes and pechay. The way she describes it, the beef bones are simmered in the tomato-based broth and when they achieve fork-tenderness, the meat is pulled from the bones and returned to the pot along with potatoes and pechay. I can understand why this version might be a step up in taste as bones do carry more flavor than regular stewing beef. I couldn't wait to try it. I bought a pack of beef neck bones on my last trip to the Asian supermarket and proceeded with the recipe she told me. At the last minute, however, I decided against flaking the meat as the neck bones looked too tempting to discard. Isn't it more fun to gnaw through bones in search of succulent meat morsels? I must say, I made the right choice. With bones and all, this beef, potato and pechay soup was wonderful to the last spoonful. Enjoy!
Beef, Potato and Pechay Soup
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 onion peeled and chopped
- 3 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 2 pounds beef neck bones
- 5 Roma tomatoes chopped
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 5 cups water
- 2 medium potatoes peeled and diced
- 1 bunch pechay chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- Wash beef bones and drain well.
- In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add onions and garlic and cook until limp. Add beef bones and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Add tomatoes and cook, mashing with back of spoon, until softened and release juice. Add fish sauce and continue to cook for about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add water and bring to a boil, skimming scum that may float on top. When broth clears, lower heat and cover. Continue to cook for about 50 minutes to 1 hour or until meat is fork-tender. Add more water in ½ cup increments as needed to maintain about 5 cups.
- Add potatoes. Continue to cook for about 7 to 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add pechay and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes or until tender yet crisp. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.