Way back when, seollangtang was the perfect antidote after an evening of one too many martinis and one too many “Livin’ on a Prayers” at Toto. At the time, the best seollangtang was at Gahm Mi Oak on 32nd Street and it would be packed at 3 a.m. on any night of the week. (As a side note and a big fan of noh-reh-bang, my personal repetoire also included Britney’s “Hit Me Baby One More Time” and Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart”. Thank you. Thank you very much).
I haven’t had the pleasure of enjoying this milky bowl of beef soup since living in New York. This time there would be no stinky noh-reh-bang, cans of Coors Lite, or drunken men (or women) starting fights. No, none of that, but instead we enjoyed the soup in full daylight, sober, and with our two beautiful children.
It’s a pretty easy soup to make and best if you made it on a rainy day when you’re stuck inside all day. Serve it with white rice and kimchi and/or kkakdugi. The ingredients listed below are what I had on hand. I think you can double it with no problem and it certainly helps to have a huge stockpot. Unfortunately, the largest pot I own only holds about 4 liters, but I made it work. Note that the amount of water will be reduced to almost half at the end of the cooking process.
1-1/2 pounds beef soup bones
6 liters of water (or about 6 quarts)
1/2 pound beef brisket, trimmed of fat
2-3 stalks green onion, finely chopped
1-2 oz. guk soo (noodles) per serving
Put the bones in a bowl of cold water for about 2 hours. Keep changing the water until there is no more blood.
Add the prepared bones to pot of water (4 liters), bring to a boil and let boil for about an hour over high heat. After an hour, add 1 more liter of water. Reduce to medium-high heat and simmer for 2 hours. Add the brisket and simmer for another 2 more hours. Add 1 more liter of water (total 6 liters) when you add the brisket. Skim any foam and fat from the surface while the soup is simmering.
Discard the bones and take out the brisket. Cut the beef in thin slices. If you’re not serving the soup right away, you can refrigerate the beef until you’re ready to prepare the bowls. Cooling the beef also makes it easier to slice the beef without having it falling apart. Or maybe I just need to get my knives sharpened.
Preparing the noodles:
Bring water to a boil in another pot. Cook the noodles for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly to keep the noodles from sticking together. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. If you make the noodles ahead of time, they can be refrigerated for up to an hour. After that, they tend to get a little mushy.
Preparing the bowl:
Place the noodles in a serving bowl. Add the hot beef broth. Place the sliced beef on top and sprinkle with green onions. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Hit me baby one more time!