October 15, 2009

Gingered Beef Soup with Shiitakes

Another delicious soup that is guaranteed to warm you all the way to the tips of your toes! The rich beef bone stock is full of minerals and gelatin - excellent for overall health, and especially for maintaining and rebuilding bone. Ginger, garlic, and shiitake mushrooms are some of nature's best medicines. Their antiviral properties make them excellent cold and flu busters, and they are great to have on hand throughout the winter. 
The rich, smoky flavor of shiitakes is a perfect addition to beef soup. I used fresh shiitakes in this recipe, but you can used dried as well. If using dried shiitakes, reconstitute them in hot water for about 10 minutes before adding them to the soup. The soaking liquid can be added as well, but strain it first -- it can contain grit. Be sure to remove the stems (fresh or dried) - they are very tough and inedible.

Gingered Beef Soup with Shiitakes
Yield: 6 to 7 quarts

2 lbs beef shanks (2-3 pieces, depending on size and how much meat you'd like in your soup)
2 lbs marrow bones
Splash of apple cider vinegar (2 to 3 Tbsp)
2 to 3 Tbsp minced fresh ginger (peeled)
1 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1 cup)
1 to 2 carrots, cut into 1/4 inch dice (about 1 cup)
2 cloves of garlic, minced (about 1 Tbsp)
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, tops sliced into 1/4-inch strips (about 3 cups)
1 serrano chili, stem and seeds removed, finely chopped
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Garnish: thinly sliced scallions
  • In a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, brown beef shanks and marrow bones. When well browned on both sides (about 10-15 minutes total) add cold water to about 2 inches below top of pot. Simmer covered for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, skimming any scum that rises to the top. Remove bones from pot and remove meat. Pull apart meat into bite-sized pieces to add back to the soup later. 
  • Return bones to the pot, add a splash of cider vinegar, and continue to simmer for 6 to 8 hours, or longer if you prefer. (Some people simmer for 24 to 48 hours; the longer you simmer, the more nutrients are extracted from the bones into the stock.)
  • When your stock is ready, strain it, rinse the pot, and return stock to the pot. Add the ginger, onion, carrot, garlic, shiitakes, and serrano chili, and a big pinch of sea salt, and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes until vegetables are tender. Add reserved meat to pot and simmer another 5 minutes until heated through.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper, and garnish each serving with thinly sliced scallions. 
  • This soup is even better the next day; resting overnight in the fridge allows the ginger to release more of its flavor into the broth.


  1. oh wow what a wonderful soup I write for an Organic Meat Company would you like me to feature it and link back to you rebeccasubbiah at yahoo dot com Rebecca

  2. Hi Rebecca - Wow, that sounds great! Thanks so much for the offer. (PS - just emailed you to confirm, too).


  3. Nancy,

    This looks wonderful! I also like to add shiitake mushrooms to soups such as miso, it just adds a soft 'meaty' texture. I need to get myself to the market earlier to purchase beef bones. Hawthorne always seems to run out by the time I arrive.



  4. Thanks Christine! Miso and shiitakes are a great idea.

    Maybe Hawthorne takes advance requests by phone or email and could reserve for you to pick up? This was suggested to me by a beef and chicken farmer at one of the upper west side markets (on a day when the only chickens they had left were about 3 times the size of what I was looking for!).

  5. Nancy... with soup season upon us, this sounds like a great soup to have simmering on the stove after a day of pumpkin picking.

    Your brilliant use of serrano chilies will definitely add some heat and make for an interesting palate explosion!

    I look forward to exploring your blog, thanks.

  6. This sounds like a rich but mellow soup guaranteed to soothe your bones and warm your toes. Delicious recipe. Bookmarking it.