Bouillon – Beef and Veggies Soup is the perfect dish for a rainy day. I remember when I was younger, about 8 or 9 years old, I loved going outside to play in the rain. This was the perfect time to show off my yellow rain boots and matching raincoat.
Jumping in the puddles was the highlight of the moment. And after being drenched even with my raincoat on, I was ready to fill up my tummy with Haitian Bouillon. Now would I do that today, not in a million years? I certainly don’t want to watch myself on YouTube or any television shows.
What is bouillon
Bouillon is a traditional Haitian Dish that is usually served on Saturdays. It is a Beef and Veggies Soup, and this is my recipe, made with beef, green leafy vegetables, regular vegetables, and root vegetables.
Bouillon is mostly served in Haitian households on Saturdays, but it can also be served during the week. This is a tradition that is passed down from generation to generation and will never go away because it is very healthy and is usually made to feed a crowd. This special soup can be made without meat or with other types of meat or seafood.
Every Haitian prepares Bouillon differently. But the main ingredients are almost the same, meat, plantain, potatoes, malanga, and spinach. One other component that completes a good Bouillon is dumplings. The dumplings have to be well spiced, so with every bite, you savor the taste of the Bouillon.
The vegetables used in this Bouillon recipe are spinach, carrot, parsnip, chayote, tomatoes, green pepper, onion, malanga, plantain, potato, and white sweet potato. The meat is beef and can be substituted with any other meat or seafood.
Usually, you will see the blue crab in bouillon as seafood. The meat must be well spiced because it is the base of the Bouillon. If you are not using meat, just fresh spices will suffice. Bouillon can also be made with coconut milk – not crazy about this way. Some people will add tomato paste – but I add fresh tomatoes. Bouillon needs a lot of ingredients, but the result is a complete healthy meal or one meal pot.
The meat is cooked first because it takes longer to cook. The vegetables and the dumplings are cooked in a separate deep pan or pot with spices. Everything is mixed for the final product, so every spoon is a burst of different flavors.
The taste and flavor of each ingredient make this dish an all year round dish. It is customary to make it on a Saturday in the Haitian culture, but why should we restrict ourselves with such tradition.
- 2 pounds beef beef shanks, beef chuck or bottom round
- 4 soft blue crabs optional
- 2 tablespoons lime juice fresh
- 2 tablespoons parsley chopped
- 2 scallions finely chopped
- 1 sprig thyme
- 3 tablespoons garlic finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper ground
- ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large white onion chopped
- 1 green bell pepper chopped
- 2 to matoes chopped
- 4 cups spinach well packed
- 1 chayote peeled and cut in small cubes
- 2 carrots peeled and cut in slices
- 2 parsnips peeled and cut in slices
- 2 medium potatoes peeled and cut in cubes
- 2 medium white sweet potatoes peeled and cut in cubes, white sweet potatoes or yellow if you prefer
- 2 malanga or Yautia. peeled and cut in cubes
- 1 large green plantain peeled and cut in 2.5cm (1″ slices)
- 2 tablespoons beef bouillon powder
- garlic powder to taste
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- ½ of a hot pepper or 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
Juice lime and set aside. Rinse meat under running water. Clean meat with lime and rinse again with water. Pat dry and place in a bowl. Add parsley, salt, ground black pepper, garlic, scallions, thyme and lime juice. Marinate at least 2 hours or overnight. Boil meat first with its own juice. Add water gradually until meat is fully cooked. Once fully cooked, prepare the dumplings.
In a bowl, add flour, water, salt, black pepper, sweet paprika. Mix all ingredients until there are no lumps. (best to mix with your hands). With a spoon or with your hands form 2.5 cm (1″) or 5 cm (2″) dumplings. Set aside.
If using blue crabs, clean blue crab, remove shell and cut in half in center. Season either with seafood spice or your regular spice. Set aside.
In a large stockpot, at medium heat, add oil, onions and green peppers. Fry for about 2 – 3 minutes. Add spinach, chayote, carrot, tomatoes and parsnip. Fry all veggies for 4 – 5 minutes. Add 8 cups of water and cover to boil. Let veggies cook for about 7 – 8 minutes. Add meat and the remaining ingredients, including dumplings. Cover ajar and let boil until all ingredients including dumplings are fully cooked about 25 – 30 minutes. Add blue crabs if using and cook for another 10 – 15 minutes. Additional garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. If mixture if too thick add additional water. Remove from heat and serve hot.
Cooking time has not been defined because of meat and root vegetables variations.
If you need to learn how to clean blue crabs click on this link: http://www.bluecrab.info/cbyc.html