TAIWANESE BEEF NOODLE SOUP
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 ½ – 3-pounds bone-in beef shanks
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 star anise pods
1 large cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
3 teaspoons peppercorns
1 large onion cut into wedges, skin on
8 large garlic cloves, crushed
2” piece ginger root, cut into slices, skin on
4 scallions, cut into 3-4” pieces
3 large tomatoes, cut into large wedges
1 red chili, cut in half
4 cups beef stock
¼ cup Shaoxing rice wine
¼ cup soy sauce
4 cups water
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1-pound shitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps sliced
½-pound broccolini or Chinese broccoli, chopped into large pieces
1-pound fresh lo mein or ramen noodles (or dried spaghetti or fettuccini, cooked to package directions)
5 baby Bok choy, cut in half lengthwise
4 large scallions, chopped
Heat the canola oil in a large Dutch oven (6-8 quarts) or heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium high heat.
Season the beef shanks with the salt and pepper on both sides. Sear the shanks in the hot oil for 2-3 minutes per side until crispy and browned. Remove to a plate.
Add the star anise, cinnamon stick, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and peppercorns to the pan drippings and toast, stirring frequently for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
Add the onions, garlic, ginger, scallions, tomatoes, and chili to the pot. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring, until the onions start to get some color and everything is very fragrant.
Add the beef stock and bring to a boil, scraping all of the brown bits up from the bottom of the pan. Add the Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, water, and brown sugar to the pan and stir to dissolve the sugar.
Add the beef back to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot, leaving a small vent for steam to escape. Cook for 2 hours.
Remove the beef shanks from the pot and place on a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Bring to room temperature and refrigerate.
Let the stock cool for 30 minutes and strain the stock through cheese cloth or a fine sieve and place the strained stock back in the pot. Squeeze or press any excess liquid through the sieve or cheesecloth getting as much of the liquid out as possible. Discard the solids.
Let the strained stock come to room temperature and then chill in the refrigerator overnight.
Skim the solidified fat and any ‘foam’ off the top of the stock and discard. Bring the clear stock to a boil and add the mushrooms. Chop the beef off the bones and cut into thin, bite-size strips. Add them into the pot. Turn heat to low and cover, leaving a small vent. Cook for 30 minutes until the mushrooms are soft and velvety.
Bring the soup back to a low boil and add the broccolini and noodles. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the noodles are cooked through and broccolini is crisp tender. Add the bok choy and scallions and cook for 1-2 more minutes until the leaves of the bok choy are wilted and the bulbs are still slightly crisp.
Serve steaming hot in bowls and devour.