This classic Latin American stew is known as “sopa seca” in Spanish, which means ” dry soup.”
It’s traditionally made with dried beans (black beans or pinto) but, depending on the region, may also include corn, rice, potatoes, squash, or even meat.
What are the ingredients for caldo de res?
Caldo de res is a traditional stew made with cooked beans, usually black beans, which are used whole or mashed into a thick puree.
In addition to the beans, other ingredients include vegetables, such as tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, garlic, and sometimes squash, along with spices like cinnamon, cloves, coriander, oregano, paprika, and cumin.
These flavors make up the base of the dish, although many variations exist.
Some versions might include pork, chicken, beef, or shrimp.
The broth itself, called the “caldo,” is what makes the dish special.
It’s a long-cooked bean mixture that includes water and seasonings, plus stock or chicken broth.
Traditionally, it’s simmered for hours until all the moisture is gone and only the flavor remains.
The beans are then strained out and served with whatever else you want to top them with.
I’ve included a few suggestions below, but feel free to experiment and use whatever you have on hand.
If you’re looking for something more than just a bowl of warm beans, consider serving this caldo over rice or pasta instead.
Or try it with tortilla chips, crackers, or flatbreads. If you prefer a lighter version, serve it with steamed white rice or quinoa.
How do you make caldo de res?
Sopa de res is a very simple dish, but it takes time to prepare.
First, you need to soak dry beans overnight.
Then, cook them until they’re tender and drain them well.
Next, sauté onions in oil over medium heat.
When the onion starts to turn translucent, add minced garlic, salt, black pepper, and bay leaves.
After a minute or two, add the beans.
Cook them together for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, so that they absorb all the flavors.
Finally, pour in enough water to cover the mixture by about an inch.
Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 1 hour.
Serve with grated cheese and chopped fresh herbs.
If you have a pressure cooker, you’ll be able to get this done much faster than using a regular pot.
Just follow the same basic steps, but cook for only 30 minutes.
If you don’t mind the extra work involved, you can substitute canned beans in place of soaking and cooking dried ones.
The following recipe includes the most common ingredients found in traditional sopas de res from Mexico.
However, you could use whatever kind of beans you want, such as kidney beans, lima beans, garbanzo beans, or lentils.
Feel free to experiment with other vegetables, such as tomatoes, peppers, or zucchini.
And if you find yourself without fresh herbs, you can always try substituting dried herbs instead.
You may also enjoy these recipes for other Mexican dishes:
Chicken enchilada chili
Chile con carne
Ensalada de aguacate con chile y crema
Traditional sopas de res contain several types of beans including pinto, black, red, white, and yellow.
They can be served as a side dish, main course, or even breakfast food.
What is the history of caldo de res?
The word ” caldo” comes from the Spanish word for broth, while “de res” is derived from the Latin words for “of things,” referring to the fact that it contains ingredients such as beans, rice, potatoes, and other vegetables.
In many parts of Latin America, it’s served at New Year’s Eve dinners and Christmas celebrations.
It’s considered a warming dish that helps ward off hunger and cold weather, especially when you’re sick.
When I was growing up, we always had this on New Year’s Day, after church services, when we were all feeling a little hung-over from celebrating the night before.
I learned how to make it as a child, and one of my very first memories of cooking is making this recipe.
I remember my grandma would buy big bags of dry beans and roast them over an open fire every year.
We would then use the leftovers for days afterward.
My mom would then take these leftover beans and put them into a crockpot to simmer overnight.
Once they were cooked, we would strain out the skins, rinse the beans, and mash them into a bowl using a potato masher.
Then she’d add water, salt, and pepper.
She would then add whatever other ingredients needed to flavor the soup – tomatoes, onions, garlic, oregano, cilantro, etc.
And she’d finish it by stirring in sour cream or yogurt.
How does caldo de res differ from other soup recipes?
The name of this dish gives away its main ingredient: beans. In fact, it’s one of the most common dishes eaten in South America.
And while it’s usually made from dried beans, there are variations where it uses white beans, black beans, or chickpeas.
But regardless of what type of bean you use, caldo de res always includes several types of vegetables, including tomatoes, onions, garlic, and peppers.
Some versions call for parsley, others coriander, and still others cilantro.
The broth itself varies depending on the region.
While some versions include pork, others use chicken.
There are no rules here — everyone makes their own caldo de res to suit their own tastes.
So why is caldo de res so special?
Because it’s not only nutritious, it’s also easy to make.
Beans are cheap, and they take less time than cooking other stews.
Plus, when you cook them slowly with vegetables, they get all soft and tender.
So, if you want something easy to prepare, flavorful, and healthy, caldo de res is the perfect choice.
If you have never had this traditional Latin American stew before, you are missing out on one of the best soups around.
Here’s how to make it:
What are some popular ways to serve caldo de res?
In addition to being served as a main dish, caldo de res is often used as a side dish.
For example, in El Salvador, it’s common to serve caldo de res alongside tamales.
I’ve also seen it served over tortillas with refried beans and topped with avocado.
In Brazil, it’s served with white rice and black beans.
There are countless other ways to eat this dish, so feel free to experiment!
Here are a few of the more common ways people serve caldo de res around the world:
In Mexico, caldo de res is typically served with tortilla chips and queso fresco, a fresh Mexican-style goat’s milk cheese.
In Argentina, caldo de res is commonly served with french fries and guacamole.
In Guatemala, caldo de res is served with sliced bread and fried plantains.
In Chile, caldo de res is often served with white rice and black beans.
In Peru, caldo de res is most commonly eaten with boiled yucca root, but it’s also very tasty on its own.
In Ecuador, caldo de res is served with white rice and red beans.
In Spain, caldo de res is usually paired with croquetas, a small ball of fried dough.
In Italy, caldo de res is served with polenta or pasta.
In Uruguay, caldo de res is served with empanadas.
In Cuba, caldo de res is served with white rice and black beans.
In Costa Rica, caldo de res is served in the form of a thick, creamy porridge with chunks of sweet potato, banana, or cassava.
How can caldo de res be made more healthy?
While many traditional recipes call for dried beans, modern cooks often use canned varieties instead.
If you have access to dried beans, by all means use them.
If not, don’t worry — there are plenty of other delicious ways to make this dish.
I’ve included three different versions below.
All three are delicious, but the second one uses less oil than the first two.
Classic Caldo de Res Recipe – Traditional method with dried black beans and pork
Healthy Version 1 – Uses only 4 cups of liquid and no pork (or chicken)
Healthy Version 2 – Uses fewer ingredients.
Use only 3 cups of liquid and no pork or chicken
What are some common caldo de res toppings?
The most common ingredients in caldo de res are black beans, either cooked from dried or canned, along with shredded beef, chicken, or pork.
Sometimes, a few vegetables such as onions, tomatoes, and carrots may be added as well.
Some people like to add a little bit of garlic, sometimes finely chopped, and other times whole cloves.
Some folks throw in peppers, chiles, and bay leaves.
And then there are the toppings. In Mexico, they’ll often add avocado, cheese, and sour cream.
In Peru, these dishes are topped with queso fresco (fresh cheeses), guacamole, and salsa verde (green sauce)
In some parts of South America, the dish is served with plantains instead of tortillas.
In Brazil, it’s called feijoada.
In Argentina, it’s called mofongo.
There’s no right way to make caldo de res, so feel free to experiment with different ingredients and flavor combinations.
Here are a couple of recipes to get you started:
Maafe Recipe #1: Caldo de Res Recipe #1
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves of minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 cup flour
2 cups water
2 cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 pound beef chuck roast, cut into small pieces
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Heat the oil in a heavy pot over medium heat.
Sauté the onion until soft, about 10 minutes.
Stir frequently so it doesn’t burn.
Add the garlic and cook for another 5 minutes.
Sprinkle the cumin and coriander over the mixture and stir.
Add the flour and mix thoroughly.
Cook, stirring continuously, for 2 minutes.
Gradually add the water, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens.
Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.
Add the beans and the beef, bring back to a boil, reduce the heat, and cover.
Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Season with the salt, pepper, and chili powder.
Serve hot, garnished with the red pepper flakes.
Maafe Recipe #2: Caldo de Res Recipe #2
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
1 large white onion, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup dry sherry
1 can (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
Water to cover
Combine all of the ingredients except the olive oil, sherry, and beans in a large pot.
Heat the oil over high heat.
When the oil is hot, add the chicken and brown it, turning once, about 4 minutes per side.
Remove the chicken and set aside.
Reduce the heat slightly, add the onion, celery, and carrots and sauté until tender, about 12 minutes.
Return the chicken to the pan and add the garlic, pepper, and spices.
Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes.
Add the sherry, bring to a boil, and return the chicken to the pot.
Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add the beans and enough water to cover by 2 inches.
Return the chicken to the pot, cover, and continue cooking for an additional 45 minutes. Serve warm.
How long does it take to make caldo de res?
It depends on how much water you use and how many ingredients you add.
Traditionally, recipes call for about 1 pound of dry beans per person, plus 2 cups of uncooked white rice and 4 quarts of water.
Some versions call for 3 pounds of raw meat, while others don’t use meat at all.
Here’s one traditional recipe from El Nuevo Herald:
Add 6 cups of water and cook on medium heat until boiling, then reduce the heat to low and cover.
Cook for two hours, stirring occasionally.
Then add 3 more cups of water and cook an additional hour.
Add another cup of water and cook for 30 minutes more.
Season with salt and pepper before serving.
If you’re using canned beans, you’ll need less liquid, and you won’t have to worry about the stovetop getting too hot.
In fact, it’s best not to let the pot get above a simmer, so consider using a slow cooker instead of a regular pan.
If you’re worried about keeping the pot at a constant temperature, you could place it inside a larger pot filled with water.
Just be sure to bring the inner pot up to temperature first, then transfer the contents into the main pot.
How much caldo de res should be made per person?
I’ve served this dish to many people over the years, and everyone always loves it.
As a result, we almost never make enough for two people.
So I’m going to share my recipe with you today, but please keep in mind that it is best when served with plenty of crusty bread and butter.
And don’t forget the cheese!
If you’re serving this hot on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, I recommend doubling the recipe so that there’s enough leftover to freeze for later use.
Another option would be to make three times as much caldo de res and freeze half of it to have on hand throughout the year.
Just remember to thaw out what you need before using it.
If you want to prepare it ahead of time, you can simmer it all day long.
It’s a great way to get rid of stale ingredients in your refrigerator.
What are some caldo de res variations?
This traditional stew was originally created by peasants who would use cow bones and intestines to make a broth for their families.
Today, you can find many versions of this dish using different ingredients, including chicken, beef, pork, seafood, vegetables, and more.
I personally prefer the simplicity of the black bean version, but there are plenty of other options out there.
Some recipes call for a combination of beans and meat, while others don’t.
Other variations include using different types of beans, such as white or red kidney beans, lentils, split peas, or even chickpeas.
And then there are those who don’t use beans at all, instead opting for potatoes, rice, corn, or even pasta.
Regardless of what you choose, one thing remains consistent across these dishes: They’re all rich, hearty, and full of flavor.
If you want to learn how to make caldo de res, we have a whole guide on how to cook it here.
But if you’re looking for a specific recipe, we’ve got you covered here.
Caldo De Res Recipe
- 1 Pot
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 onions thinly sliced
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups water
- 2 cans black beans rinsed and drained
- 1/2 pound beef chuck roast cut into small pieces
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Heat the oil in a heavy pot over medium heat.
- Sauté the onion until soft, about 10 minutes.
- Stir frequently so it doesn’t burn.
- Add the garlic and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle the cumin and coriander over the mixture and stir.
- Add the flour and mix thoroughly.
- Cook, stirring continuously, for 2 minutes.
- Gradually add the water, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens.
- Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.
- Add the beans and the beef, bring back to a boil, reduce the heat, and cover.
- Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- Season with the salt, pepper, and chili powder.
- Serve hot, garnished with the red pepper flakes.