While touring around the Philippines, my family stopped in Tagaytay, less than 50 miles away from the capital city of Manila. Atop a scenic mountain view, we ordered bulalo. I’ll never forget the beef shank bone protruding from the bowl of rich onion broth. It had a luscious jewel of marrow. To prevent fighting over it at the table, I’ve added a whole marrow bone to this recipe. If your butcher can, ask to split them vertically to expose the marrow. Bulalo is the Tagalog word for knee and in this context refers to an animal’s shank and shinbone. For a faster bulalo, you can parcook the beef, onion, and spices in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot for 20 minutes, according to the manufacturer’s instructions, then finish with the rest of the vegetables.
- Place the beef shank in a large pot or Dutch oven and cover completely with water. Bring it to a boil and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. For a clearer broth, discard this first boil liquid and refill with fresh water. But if you don’t want to waste water, skim the foamy brown scum that floats to the top.
- Add the onion, pepper, bay leaf, and marrow bones. Bring the soup to a boil again and simmer, partially covered with a lid, for two hours until the beef is fork tender. Skim the soup again. If the water starts to run low, keep adding more to submerge the beef.
- Add the garlic, salt, and corn. Cook for 10 minutes.
- Hold the soup on low heat until you are ready to eat. You can also cover and store it in a 200°F oven.
- A few minutes before serving, add the bok choy and cabbage and let wilt. The broth should be thin and clear with pools of fat floating to the top.
- Serve with a side of white rice. If you want more umami flavor, add a dash of fish sauce or soy sauce.
Jenn de la Vega is TASTE's Cook In Residence and the writer behind the blog Randwiches.