My Recipe Box

Cinnamon Beef Noodle Soup

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Serves 6 to 8

  • To learn more, read:
    Asian Noodle Soups
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 56

Packaged stewing beef is often made up of irregularly shaped pieces from different cuts, so I cut my own stew meat using a boneless chuck roast or two 3/4-inch-thick chuck steaks.

  • 1 tsp. peanut or vegetable oil   
  • 3 cinnamon sticks (about 3 inches each)
  • 6 scallions, cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed  
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
  • 1-1/2 tsp. anise seeds
  • 1-1/2 tsp. Asian chile paste
  • 7 cups water
  • 4 cups homemade or canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2-1/2 lb. boneless beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 9 oz. fresh udon noodles (or 6 oz. dried)
  • 1- to 1-1/2-lb. bunch bok choy, bottom trimmed, stalks washed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

Heat the oil in a heavy soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. When very hot, add the cinnamon, scallions, garlic, ginger, anise seeds, and chile paste; cook, stirring, for 1-min. Add the water, broth, soy sauce, and vinegar; bring to a boil over high heat. Add the meat and bring to a vigorous simmer. Lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, partially covered, until the meat is very tender, about 1-1/2 hours, checking to be sure that the soup doesn’t boil or stop simmering.

Shortly before the soup is done, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the noodles according to the package directions until just tender. Drain and rinse under cold water.

When the meat is tender, remove the cinnamon sticks. Add the bok choy to the soup and simmer until the stalks are crisp tender and the greens are very tender, 5 to 10 min. Stir in the noodles and let them warm through. Serve immediately, garnished with the cilantro leaves.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on eight servings; Calories (kcal): 490; Fat (g): fat g 29; Fat Calories (kcal): 260; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 11; Protein (g): protein g 31; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 13; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 25; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 1360; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 100; Fiber (g): fiber g 2;

Photo: Scott Phillips

You can look at the ingredients and tell that this soup will be very good. I made a sort of East meets West version by using a handful of fresh collared greens instead of bok choy, and I made rolled dumplings and added those instead of the noodles. I also browned the meat first. Rather than add the scallions to the broth, I thinly sliced them and used as a garnish. I used half of a regular onion in place of the scallions in the broth. I passed on the cilantro.

This was very tasty. I wasn't sure of the cinnamon beef combination at first but was glad I tried it. I also browned the beef first. I used fresh udon noodles and just threw them in the soup for the last 5 minutes. It made the soup a little thicker which was fine for me.

A great point of departure - I brown the beef slowly in the bottom of the Creuset to add depth to the broth. As a way to use what's in the fridge when it's still fresh, I'll add whatever garden greens I have, including lettuces and mesclun, since they add crunch and that weird, kelp-like frond effect. This is another great excuse to bring out the Rooster Sauce for some added zing.

This recipe was awesome!! Just make sure to season it well. I could eat this every week!

I cut this in half for the two of us and served with white rice on the side and had plenty for a full meal. Very clean/rich flavor, easy to make and super good. Also, I didn't have enough bok choy so added Chinese cabbage and put a lovely poached egg on top. Will have again.

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