It’s been at least an year since I’ve had Korean ox bone soup and I’ve been craving it ever since. I finally convinced myself to make it myself even though it takes a long, and I mean long time. Perfect for those chilly days!
Ox bone soup (Seolleongtang)
2 1/2 lb ox leg bones
2 lb beef flank, brisket, or round
1 large onion, peeled, kept whole
4 garlic cloves
Japanese somen (optional)
green onions for garnish
salt to taste
Soak the ox leg bones and the beef flank, brisket, or round in cold water for 20 minutes. Drain and rinse off any bone chips.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of about 3 1/2 quarts of water to a hard boil. Put the bones and beef carefully into the water. Bring back to a boil and continue to cook on high heat for 10 minutes, uncovered. Drain the pot, throwing away the dirty water but reserving the bones and beef. Rinse the beef and bones in cold water and drain. Clean the pot, rinsing off the fat and scum.
Using the same pot, fill it with 3 1/2 quarts of water. Add the bones, beef, whole onion, and whole garlic cloves. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat, covered. Once the broth reaches a boil, about 25 minutes later, reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer the broth for 3 hours.
Remove the beef flank from the soup and let cool. Add more water to the pot as it will have reduced. Bring back to a boil, than simmer for another 3 hours.
Add more water to the pot and bring back to a boil. Simmer again for another 3 hours. Continue to cook the broth, adding water every 3 hours if needed, until the soup has achieved a white, milky color. Once the soup is ready, cool and chill overnight in the refrigerator.
Remove the soup from the refrigerator and skim off the hardened fat on top. Bring back to heat.
Slice the beef across the grain, about 1/8 inch thick. Add back to the soup to reheat.
If serving with noodles, cook the somen according to the directions on the package. Drain.
To serve, portion the noodles among 6 bowls. Ladle the soup with the beef per bowl. Serve with green onions, salt, pepper, kimchi, and rice. Allow the guests to season their own soup according to their taste.
As you can see, ox bone soup requires quite a bit of time to prepare, but it’s really just a matter of leaving the soup to cook.
Seolleongtang is made from ox bone cuts, mostly the leg bones. I tried to make it with oxtail but the soup never achieved the white color that it needed it, possibly because there is more meat on the bone than bone itself. This time I used beef bones.
Look at the fat and blood that comes out of the bones after being soaked for 20 minutes!
The initial boiling of the bones and beef is to remove the blood and any scum from the bones.
After the first three hours, you can already see the water achieving some color.
How long the soup takes to obtain the white milky color also depends on how strong your heat is and how much water there is. I cooked my soup over low heat for at least 24 hours before it was done. Look at the change from after 3 hours to after 24 hours!
Make sure to skim off the fat from the soup before serving.
Traditionally this soup is served with the condiments on the side along with the seasonings. Kkakdugi, a spicy Korean radish side dish is often consumed with the soup. Since I only had kimchi, I had to settle for that instead.
Most restaurants I’ve had this soup at serve it with only a small portion of noodles and a side of white rice. Japanese somen noodles worked well with this soup.
After many, many hours, I’m proud to say my ox bone soup came out just right! Simple with only a few ingredients, this soup is able to achieve great flavors. Luckily for me, I made a large batch so it’s going to be Seollangtang for lunch and dinner the next couple of days!
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