For those who love bulalo soup but not the messy part of holding the beef leg bone upright to allow the bone marrow to fall off, I have a solution. Consider it a way to serve bulalo soup, fine dining style. Simmer the beef leg bones for several hours, tap out the bone marrow, mash a bit and pour back into the broth. Add whatever meat and vegetables you want, and you get the richness of the marrow in the broth, and the texture of meat and vegetables to go with it. It’s delicious.
What’s the idea? Why let the marrow mix into the broth? The inspiration has nothing to do with any attempt to eat fine dining style at home. It has everything to do with Speedy and me competing for the bone marrow. He gets irked when I scoop and eat the marrow while the bone is still in the pot (I tell him I have to taste while I cook) leaving him with a much smaller share of the loot. So, he came up with the idea of putting all the marrow in the broth so that we get more or less equal shares. And the result was a soup worthy of a fine dining experience. The prep time is very short, it’s the time to simmer the bones that take a while but the wait is well worth it.
The beef leg bones can be bought as “scrap soup bones”. They’re so much cheaper when bought that way instead of getting what is labeled as “bulalo”. It’s the same thing really, except that bulalo cut has a little meat. But, for purposes of making this soup, you don’t need that little meat anyway, so, go for the scrap soup bones. Ask the butcher to cut the bones into sizes that will fit into your pot.
Pork ribs and malunggay with bulalo (beef bone marrow) soup
- beef leg bones
- 1 onion
- 1 whole garlic
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 kilogram meaty pork ribs
- a large bunch of malunggay
Roast the beef bones in the oven or on a grill until lightly browned. Transfer to a pot, cover with water, add the onion, garlic, peppercorns, bay leaf and about a tablespoonful of salt. Cover, bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for about two to three hours.
After simmering for an hour and a half, turn up the heat to high, add the pork ribs and more salt. Bring to the boil once more. Watch out for scum — if scum from the pork ribs rises, scoop and throw out. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for an hour or until the pork ribs are tender to the point that the meat is falling off the bones.
Scoop out the beef leg bones, garlic, onion, peppercorns and bay leaf. Transfer the bones to a plate. Let the pork ribs continue to simmer in the broth.
When the bones are cool enough to handle, tap out the marrow. Mash the marrow lightly with a fork then pour back into the pot with the ribs.
Strip the malunggay leaves off the stems (read tips). Discard the stems; add the leaves to the soup pushing them down into the broth.
Taste the broth and add more salt, if needed.
Turn up the heat to high. When the broth boils, cover the pot and turn off the heat. Let the malunggay leaves cook in the residual heat for about five minutes.
Serve the soup at once.