Beef and Vegetable Soup (Sup Bo)

This is a rustic and simple beef and vegetable soup that is often served in my family, ever since I was a little kid. We would have this soup with rice or sometimes with baguette. Interestingly, we would have a small dish on the side of soy sauce, so to serve as a dip for the chunks of beef. Sounds a little strange, but give it a try and you'll be surprised on how well the soy sauce brings out the nice beef flavor. Ironically, you don't see much "Vietnamese" in the dish, but it's such a popular soup among Vietnamese families, whether in Vietnam or from abroad. 

beef and vegetable soup

RECIPE for 8 servings

3 lbs of beef chuck, cut into 3x3 cubes, season with 1 tbs of salt and 1 tsp of pepper
1 full head of celery, cut into 3-inch portions 
1 lb of carrots, cut into 2-inch portions
1 lb of white potatoes, cut into quarters
2 medium white onion, cut into large wedges
10 cups of water
1 tub of beef concentrate, (or similar, as seen in the photo above)
1 tbs of olive oil
2-3 dried bay leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbs of soy sauce, and/or more at the table as a dip

1. Use a large stock pot or dutch oven. Add in the oil and drop the beef in to sear them. Remember to turn the beef on all its sides. Sear for about 5 mins or until they look slightly golden.
2. Make some room in the middle of the pot and add in the onion. Sear them for 2-3 mins or until fragrant.
3. Add in the water. Then top with bay leaf, the top cuts of the celery, beef concentrate, 1 tsp of coarse ground black pepper and 1 tsp of salt.
4. Cover and cook for 30 mins on medium heat.
5. Add in all the veggies next and put back the cover. Continue to cook for another 20 mins or until the veggies are tender.
6. Taste and add 1 tbs of soy sauce to the soup at the very end.
7. Serve with steamed white rice and/or bread.