Beef Noodle Soup

Eight reasons why this recipe is awesome.

  1. There’s a grand total of about 10 minutes prep time, most of which you can do while the beef is browning
  2. You can get enough of the spices to last years at a Chinese grocery store for less than 10 bucks
  3. After your ten minutes prep time you can walk away for a couple of hours
  4. You can use an inexpensive cut of beef
  5. You should use an inexpensive cut of beef
  6. Forget side dishes, it’s all you need for a meal and you only need two pots
  7. It makes the whole house smell great
  8. It cures the common cold, at least for a little while

Have you ever had the Cantonese noodle soups in a Chinese restaurant, or one of the big “for two” soups they list on most menus? That’s the size soup bowl you want. It’s more the size of a medium mixing bowl than your typical soup bowl. You’ll find them in the kitchenware department of your Chinese grocery store. We got some nice ones for $10 each, and they’ll double nicely as serving dishes for vegetables or rice.

I used beef shank meat, a relatively chewy cut that responded nicely to four hours’ slow cooking. F. loved it, and we all had seconds. Your finished dish isn’t going to look like the food stylist’s version. After several hours in a bath of soy sauce your carrots are not going to be orange anymore, and your onions will have pretty much melted away.

Watch out for those whole chiles — F. bit into one and we had a few panicky moments trying to find something to use as a chaser (bread dipped in olive oil was the solution).

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