Filipino Beef Shank Soup


Bulalo, a brothy stew from the Philippines, is enriched by the marrow and collagen from meaty beef shanks. Corn, green beans, and cabbage added near the end of cooking deliver a contrasting fresh crunch.

Filipino Beef Shank Soup
Photo: Greg DuPree
Active Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 20 mins


  • 7 pounds meaty beef shanks, cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 medium-size (9 ounce) sweet onion, thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped garlic

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger

  • 4 quarts beef stock or chicken stock

  • 1/4 cup fish sauce (such as Megachef or Red Boat), plus more to taste

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons black pepper, plus more to taste

  • 1 Thai chile, thinly sliced (optional)

  • 2 ears fresh sweet corn, shucked and cut into thirds

  • 24 green beans, trimmed

  • 1/2 head napa cabbage, thinly sliced (about 8 cups)


  1. Place beef shanks in a large stockpot, and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high; reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 10 minutes. Skim and discard any scum and fat that come to surface. Remove beef shanks, and set aside. Discard cooking liquid. Clean pot. (This step guarantees a clean and clear broth.)

  2. Heat oil in pot over medium-high. Add onion, garlic, and ginger; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent and mixture is aromatic, about 3 minutes.

  3. Return beef shanks to pot; add stock. Bring to a boil over high; reduce heat to medium-low to maintain a simmer. Skim and discard any scum that surfaces. Add fish sauce and black pepper; simmer until beef is tender, 2 hours and 30 minutes to 3 hours.

  4. Add chile slices, if using, and simmer 3 minutes. Add corn; simmer 6 minutes. Add green beans; simmer 3 minutes. Add cabbage, and simmer until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Add fish sauce and black pepper to taste.

Make Ahead

Prepare bulalo through step 3. Let cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate up to 2 days. Reheat before proceeding with step 4.

Suggested Pairing

Crisp, herbal Cabernet Franc.

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