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Bulalo Stew (Filipino-style Osso Buco)



Bone-in beef shank is slow cooked in tomato sauce and served with vegetables on the side. Bulalo stew, or what I like to call my Filipino-style osso buco, makes a lovely family meal.

Bulalo Stew (Filipino-style Osso Buco) Recipe

What is bulalo? It is a Filipino beef shank and vegetable soup which features the bone marrow prominently. In common parlance, however, the term bulalo is used to refer to the bone marrow itself or bone-in beef shank.

What is osso buco? It is Italian for “bone with a hole”. It is also the name of a dish of braised bone-in veal shanks served with vegetables. Traditional recipes call for braising the beef in a mixture of white wine and bone broth; more modern recipes include tomatoes. Gremolata — the condiment made with chopped parsley, garlic and lemon zest is optional when serving modern-style osso buco. Or so I’ve read.

In this recipe, I combined Filipino ingredients with Italian-style cooking.

Bulalo Stew (Filipino-style Osso Buco) Recipe, Step 1: Slow cook the beef shank in tomato sauce

Making bulalo stew is not difficult. It is the long cooking time that requires patience. It took four hours to cook my Filipino-style osso buco. I could have used the slow cooker but the tomato sauce would not have reduced as a result. If you own a slow cooker, you’ll know what I mean — there is too little evaporation. Since I wanted a thickened and reduced sauce, I cooked my bulalo stew on the stove top.

Bulalo Stew (Filipino-style Osso Buco) Recipe Step 2: Boil green beans in salted water

After three-and-a-half hours of simmering, I started prepping the vegetables. I trimmed a bunch of green beans and cooked them in salted water.

Bulalo Stew (Filipino-style Osso Buco) Recipe, Step 3: Boil carrot and potatoes in salted water

While the green beans cooked, I peeled a carrot and a potato. After scooping out the green beans from the pan, I dumped in the carrot and potato cubes and added more salt.

Bulalo Stew (Filipino-style Osso Buco) Recipe, Step 4: Serve the beef shank with sauce surrounded by the vegetables

After that, it was just a matter of assembling my bulalo stew. I place the beef shank on one side of a serving bowl, ladled in plenty of the chunky tomato sauce in which it had cooked, then I arranged the vegetables around the beef.

Bulalo Stew (Filipino-style Osso Buco)

Bulalo Stew (Filipino-style Osso Buco)

Print Pin
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Modern Filipino
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 35 minutes
Servings: 3 people
Author: Connie Veneracion


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  • Place the beef shank, bone hole side up, in a pot and cover with water. Boil for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse; throw out the water.
  • In a pot tall enough to allow the shank to be cooked in an upright position with the bone hole side up, pour in the tomato sauce and two cups of bone broth, and bring to a gentle boil.
  • Drop the rinsed beef shank into the pot, bone hole side up preferably, and sprinkle in salt and pepper. Cover the pot and simmer until the meat is tender and can be easily separated from the bone. Check the liquid occasionally to make sure that the meaty portion of the shank is submerged in liquid throughout the cooking. Add more broth, if needed, about half a cup at a time.
  • When the meat is tender, uncover the pot and continue cooking the beef shank over medium heat to reduce and thicken the sauce.
  • Meanwhile, boil about three cups of water with a teaspoonful of salt in another pot.
  • Trim the ends and edges of the green beans and cook in the salted water for five to seven minutes.
  • While the green beans cook, peel the carrot and potato. Cut both into cubes.
  • Scoop out the green beans and set aside.
  • Stir in another teaspoonful of salt into the water and dump in the carrot and potato cubes. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until tender then drain.
  • Scoop out the beef shank from the sauce and place in a serving bowl.
  • Ladle the reduced tomato sauce into the bowl with the shank.
  • Arrange the cooked vegetables around the beef shank.
  • Serve your bulalo stew at once.


This bulalo stew recipe is an updated version. The old recipe published in May 31, 2005 has been retired.
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