Mexican Soup with Tomatillo and Shredded Beef gets its zest from poblano chiles. Flavorful, authentic ingredients create a warming weeknight dinner.
I don't use enough tomatillos. It's a fact. I really like them though. They add a savory tanginess to dishes – like a tomato but slightly less sweet and of course with a different flavor. So like the tomato-based soups I love, I wanted to create a tomatillo-based soup with all the glorious Mexican flavors I could.
I started with beef shank. It's a very authentic cut, often used to make rich beef broths in South American cuisines. The cut bones help add richness and viscosity to a soup. However, if you cant' find shank in your market, or your butcher won't cut or order it for you, you can choose some substitutes.
You want a new favorite dinner? This Mexican Tomatillo Soup with Shredded Beef is going to hit the mark.
Beef short ribs are a fine sub, as is osso buco (but that can be pricey and doesn't quite have the same flavor). In a pinch you can also use chuck roast. Cut it into pieces before searing it. You'll miss out on the cut bones from beef shank that add to the broth, but you'll still have a lovely soup!
I sear the meat to give a little caramelized flavor to the base and then add some other ingredients to start my broth. The beef then gets simmered in the soup for at least an hour until it's super tender! You'll love to top the soup with a crumble of queso blanco or Cotija. They are dry, white Mexican cheeses that give a little sharp flavor, and act as a pretty garnish. So delicious!
Mexican Tomatillo and Shredded Beef Soup
- 1 (3 lb) beef shank with bone cut into 1- to 2-inch-thick pieces
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion cut into ½-inch dice
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 3 cans (14 oz each) beef broth
- 3 cans (11 oz each) tomatillos
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- 2 poblano chiles roasted, peeled, seeded and cut into ½-inch squares
- 3 thin carrots cut into ½-inch-thick rounds
- 3 celery stalks cut into ½-inch-thick slices
- 1 chayote or summer squash peeled and cut into ½-inch dice
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro coarsely chopped
- ½ cup queso blanco cheese crumbled
- Restaurant-style tortilla chips for serving (optional)
- Rinse beef and pat dry; season well with salt. In a large pot, heat oil over high heat. Add beef and brown on all sides, 6 to 8 min. Transfer beef to a plate. Reduce heat to medium; add onion and garlic. Cook until onion is softened, about 3 min. Return beef to pot; add broth, tomatillos, juice and cumin. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 1 hr. Transfer beef to a cutting board and, when cool enough to handle, shred meat (discard bones) and return to pot. Add chile, carrot, celery and chayote; simmer until tender, 20 to 25 min more. Skim off fat and stir in cilantro.
- Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle with cheese. Serve with tortilla chips (if using).
Soup's On! Warming soups make great weeknight dinners. I've got so many favorites. Explore the options here and try some of these.
Creamy Chicken Tomato Bisque is hands down one of my favorite tomato soups. Such a perfect combo.
Thai Coconut Shrimp Soup is so easy to make. And so good you'll forget the spoon and want to drink it right out of the bowl.
Recipe Tara Bench. Photographer Blaine Moats. Food Stylist Carol Linnan. Originally published LHJ 02/08