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Savor the Flavor: How to Prepare Colombian Rib Broth


Colombian Rib Broth
Colombian Rib Broth (Caldo de Costilla). Credit: James/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Colombian cuisine is a delightful tapestry of flavors, blending indigenous, African, and Spanish influences into mouthwatering dishes. One such culinary gem is Colombian Rib Broth, a hearty and warming soup that graces tables across the country. If you’re ready to embark on a flavorful journey, here’s how to prepare this delicious Colombian delicacy.

Ingredients You’ll Need

For the Broth:

  1. 2 lbs of beef ribs (preferably short ribs)
  2. 1 onion, chopped
  3. 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  4. 2 bay leaves
  5. 8 cups of water
  6. Salt and pepper to taste

For the Sofrito (Seasoning):

  1. 1 onion, finely chopped
  2. 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  3. 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  4. 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  5. 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  6. 1 carrot, finely chopped
  7. 1/2 cup of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  8. 2 scallions, finely chopped
  9. 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
  10. 1/2 teaspoon of ground achiote (annatto)
  11. Salt and pepper to taste


1. Prepare the Broth:

  1. Place the beef ribs, chopped onion, minced garlic, bay leaves, and water in a large soup pot.
  2. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Bring the water to a boil over high heat.
  4. Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for about 1.5 to 2 hours or until the meat is tender and falling off the bones.
  5. Remove the ribs from the broth and set them aside.
  6. Strain the broth and discard the solids, including the onion and bay leaves.
  7. Return the strained broth to the pot and keep it warm over low heat.

2. Prepare the Sofrito:

  1. In a separate pan, heat some oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the finely chopped onion and minced garlic and sauté until they become translucent.
  3. Add the red and green bell peppers, carrots, and tomatoes. Continue to sauté until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Stir in the ground cumin, ground achiote, and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Cook the sofrito for an additional 5-7 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.

3. Combine and Serve:

  1. Add the cooked beef ribs back into the pot with the warm broth.
  2. Pour the prepared sofrito into the pot as well.
  3. Stir everything together and allow the soup to simmer for another 10-15 minutes to let the flavors meld.
  4. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper if needed.
  5. Just before serving, stir in the fresh cilantro and scallions for a burst of freshness.

4. Presentation:

  1. Colombian Rib Broth is often served with a side of white rice and a slice of ripe avocado. This trio of flavors complements each other perfectly.
  2. You can also serve it with a portion of yuca (cassava) or plantains for a heartier meal.
  3. Some Colombians enjoy adding a squeeze of lime or a dash of hot sauce to their bowl for an extra kick.

5. Enjoy!

Now that you’ve prepared this delectable Colombian Rib Broth, savor the rich flavors and aromas that make it a beloved dish across Colombia. Whether you’re enjoying it on a chilly evening or as a comfort food, this soup embodies the warmth and heartiness of Colombian cuisine. Buen provecho!

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