Beef shank works beautifully for slow-cooked soups, breaking down during long simmering to render the aromatic broth superbeefy.
3 quarts water 2 pounds (2-inch-thick) bone-in beef shanks
2 teaspoons peanut oil or canola oil
1 cup chopped white onion
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, chopped
6 cups water
1 tablespoon chile garlic sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons black bean garlic sauce (such as Lee Kum Kee)
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
3 star anise
1 cup sliced green onions, divided
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 baby bok choy, cut in half lengthwise
1/2 pound fresh Chinese-style wheat noodles
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
How to Make It
Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a large Dutch oven. Add beef shanks; boil until surface of meat is no longer red (about 6 minutes). Drain shanks; cool slightly. Remove meat from bones; reserve bones. Cut meat into cubes.
Rinse pan; wipe clean with paper towels. Heat pan over high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add white onion, ginger, and garlic; stir-fry 4 minutes or until browned. Stir in 6 cups water, chile garlic sauce, and black bean sauce. Place peppercorns and star anise on a double layer of cheesecloth. Gather edges of cheesecloth together; tie securely. Add cheesecloth bag, 1/2 cup green onions, sugar, and soy sauce to pan. Return meat and bones to pan. Bring to a simmer. Partially cover, and simmer gently for 2 hours or until meat is tender. Uncover and simmer 1 hour or until reduced to about 5 cups. Cool to room temperature; cover and chill overnight.
Skim fat from soup; discard fat. Discard bones and cheesecloth bag. Bring soup to a simmer. Add tomatoes and bok choy; cook 5 minutes or until bok choy is tender.
Cook noodles according to package directions. Place about 1/2 cup noodles in each of 4 bowls. Ladle 1 cup soup into each bowl, dividing bok choy evenly. Sprinkle each serving with 2 tablespoons green onions and 1 tablespoon cilantro.