A piping hot hearty soup is the perfect way to warm up against the cold December nights. This beef, misua and upo soup has enough meat to make it filling but is still light enough to allow you to enjoy the rest of the dishes on the noche buena table.
If you use beef short ribs, the bones are enough to make a flavorful broth. If you prefer boneless cuts of beef (like brisket or chuck), you will need scrap beef bones to make the broth. Needless to say, the secret is in the bones.
A note about the misua. In the wet markets, misua can be bought by the roll. In the supermarket, misua comes in packs and a pack contains anywhere from 6 to 12 rolls of misua. You only need three rolls. If you use more, the soup will thicken too much from the starch in the misua.
The following recipe can serve 8 to 10 persons.
1-1/2 kilos of beef short ribs (or 3/4 kilo of beef brisket or chuck PLUS a kilo of beef bones)
12 plump and juicy tomatoes
2 large onions
1 head of garlic
1 bay leaf
1 whole upo (bottle gourd)
3 rolls of misua
Cooking procedure :
Place the uncut beef (and bones, if using) in a large pot. Cover with water. Bring to the boil, skimming off scum as it rises. Add all the tomatoes, the whole garlic, one whole onion, the bay leaf and the peppercorns. Simmer for an hour and a half. At this point, the meat should have separated from the bones (if using short ribs).
Scoop out the tomatoes, onions and garlic. Set aside to cool.
Scoop out the meat from the broth and cut into one inch cubes.
Strain the broth and return to the pot.
Add the cubed beef to the pot and turn on the heat again.
Peel the tomatoes and crush with your hand — lightly so that there are still rather large chunks. Do the same with the onions and garlic.
Add the tomatoes, onions and garlic to the beef. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for another 30 minutes or until the beef is very tender.
While the beef simmers, prepare the upo. Cut off the skin and scoop out the seeds. Cut the upo into one-and-a-half-inch cubes. When the beef is ready, adjust the seasonings, add the upo and continue simmering until the upo is cooked (about 10 minutes).
Turn off the heat. Add the misua, pressing the noodles down into the broth. Cover and leave for 10 minutes. Do not turn on the heat anymore. The hot broth will soften the misua and that’s all the misua needs. If you continue simmering the soup, the misua will turn mushy and release too much starch into the broth.
Serve at once.