Beef makes better soups than pork, pork makes better roasts than beef, and chicken is best for frying. That pretty much sums up how I treat meat. Of course, those preferences don’t necessarily apply to offal as that’s a totally different dimension of food and cooking. But just beef, pork and chicken? What happened to lamb, turkey, duck, veal… Those are imported and considered luxuries we reserve for special occasions. With the exception of turkey, I suppose, which is not in my list of “good eats” at all.
Does beef make better broth than chicken? Isn’t chicken broth the number one choice for soups? Not for me. After making broth with meat bones and carcasses more than a hundred times, I have come to the conclusion that the best tasting broth comes from a combination of beef and pork bones.
It’s just a passing observation, really, because I’ve been cooking a lot of soup dishes lately. Part of me says it’s to replenish lost liquid in this awful summer heat. Another part of me says the lost liquid replenishment explanation is just an excuse — I prefer to make soup dishes these days because the heat makes me lazy and soup making is not a very involved process. Just simmer the meat and bones, add the vegetables and it’s done.
So, I have another soup dish to share. A delicious one with malunggay which, whether it’s relevant and significant or not, is being pushed to be declared by law to be named the Philippines’s national vegetable.
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 6 cloves garlic smashed
- slices ginger (the amount depends on the level of heat you prefer)
- 1 onion thinly sliced
- beef chunks (choose a cut with bones)
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 1 small carrot julienned
- a bunch of malunggay (see how to strip the leaves off the stems)
Heat the cooking oil in a pot. Saute the garlic, ginger and onion. Add the beef and cook until the edges are lightly browned (the caramelization of the meat’s natural sugars will create a broth that blends wonderfully with ginger).
Pour in enough water to cover the meat. Add salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover the pot and simmer the meat until tender, about two hours.
Taste the broth and adjust the seasonings, if needed.
Throw in the julienned carrot. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
Add the malunggay leaves, pressing them into the broth. Simmer for a few minutes.
Serve the beef with ginger and malunggay soup.