COMFORT ME WITH SOUP!
This soup is one of those “special” soups not because it takes a lot of skill to prepare, but because it takes so much time to make. I like to boil this soup for at least 8 hours, until the gelatin falls off the beef knuckle bones in soft and savory pieces that float in the millky white broth and then melt in your mouth.
I love this soup–it is a childhood comfort dish for me–but it has become one of those dishes I make while the hubby is out of town; the concept of beef knuckle bones is just not that appealing a thought to most Western palates.
The house is filled with the savory, gamey aroma of the soup while I boil it for hours and hours, checking to see if the gelatin has softened (it starts out solid, then it becomes very very chewy and tough like tendon, and then ultimately something soft and delicate (you can feel the give of the gelatin under a spoon). The soft and delicate stage is what you want).
This soup takes a lot of patience, but on a homebound, cold winter day alone, this is a comforting activity. Keep simmering, putter around the house, wait for soup, savor smells, feel the anticipation. When you serve it to someone who KNOWS what this soup is, they’ll feel the love–after all, it took you 8 hours (or more) to make this soup!
Today, I’m feeling the love for myself! I think I need it–for some reason I’ve been in the doldrums. Life seems complicated and loud–so I decided to reach for a simple, soothing soup with a good dose of patience. For the past twenty-four hours, I’ve been focused on one thing: this soup. Yah. Like dudes diminish their focus to a video game for a day, I’ll tunnel on soup, thank you.
As with many Korean dishes like sam gye tang ginseng chicken, this soup is known to have medicinal qualities. My health-conscious mother always told me this was “bone soup, with lots of calcium!” It does have a lot of calcium. (Today, it’s been healthy to me in other ways).
Haha–bone soup! Because were totally Americanized kids, she didn’t tell us WHICH bones until we had fallen in love with the soup.
Some people like to add sliced daikon radish to the soup (I do, too–though I didn’t have daikon radish at home this time). The essence of the soup, however, requires very little but the beef knucklebones (called “sagol or “tongani” at Korean grocery stores).
Recipe follows after the jump…
Korean Beef Knuckle (or Knucklebone) Soup: Sullung Tang
2 pounds beef knuckle bones (sagol or togani)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
salt to taste
lots of water
optional: 1 daikon radish, peeled and cut into thin 1 inch squares
In a large bowl, soak the bones for a couple hours in cold water, drain and set aside. Fill a heavy stockpot with water and bring to boil. Add bones. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, skimming off the impurities with a slotted spoon. Decrase teh heat to low and simmer for at least 8 hours or overnight.
Add the radish, garlic, and green onions to the pot and bring to a boil. Decrase the heat to low and simmer for 2 hours.
Serve with bowls of rice and kimchi. Serve with salt and black pepper so your guests can adjust the seasoning to their liking.