Beef Shank Bone Soup

By David J. Stewart

This is a delicious recipe that my kids love, but it takes about 3 hours to make.  To me, I enjoy cooking long meals.  Society today has become so hectic, with everyone tossing a TV-dinner into the microwave.  There's no love in that!  I enjoy cooking, the longer the better. 


Place meat into pot.  Cover meat at least 1" with water.  The best part of this meal is the awesome bone-marrow that boils out from the bone.  You need to keep the meat covered with water in order for it to cook.  Beef Bone Shank is tough if you don't cook it long enough.  You can't overcook this meal, so I give it about 3 - 4 hours to simmer under a medium flame.  A little boiling is ok in the center, but your heat is too high if the whole pot is boiling.  You want to set your heat just where the soup is starting to boil.  When done, the meat will fall right off the bone.  You'll see a hollow bone with all the marrow in the soup.  Delicious!  Cover the pot for the entire cooking time.  I have a glass lid with a little steam vent which is nice.  After an hour or so, you will need to add some more water to your soup to compensate for lost steam.  Keep the meat covered so it can cook properly.

Add all your ingredients at the beginning, except the cabbage... add that after about an hour or so.  I wouldn't add any more salt or pepper than listed above until towards the end.  The reason is because your soup's flavor is going to enhance as it cooks.  I usually will add more salt and pepper towards the end.  Be careful because if you add too much salt or pepper you can't undo it, unless you add a bunch more water and let it stew for a little longer.  I usually buy a 2-pack of beef bone shank and use them both at once.

I cut my onions into semi-circles.  I peel most of the skin off of my 1" of ginger before tossing into the pot.  The ginger essence isn't noticeable in the soup when it's done.  The great thing about the ginger is that it absorbs all that floating brown residue that comes from the meat as it's cooking.  It all goes away.  I think it's amazing.  The ginger perfectly complements the soup.  Some people like to add the entire head of cabbage, but I think that's way too much.  I actually only use about 1/4 to 1/2 of a small head of cabbage.  The beef bullion cubes aren't as strongly flavored as the chicken, so I use both beef and chicken.  There is no set rule.  You may want to use all chicken or all beef.  Also, you certainly can add more cubes for more flavor. 

Potatoes go great with this soup, but you want to add them towards the end or else they'll cook into mush.  I realize it may seem sacrilegious to add canned potatoes to such a fresh dish, but I actually prefer to add 1 can of drained whole peeled potatoes in the last 20 minutes of cooking.  It's the bone marrow that really flavors the soup.  I stir my soup every 30 minutes or so.  Cooking is an art which requires patience and practice. 

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