In August, my friend Patrick took me on a food tour of Koreatown in L.A. I first met Patrick in 2008 during our summer internship at the Star Tribune. Patrick is a "real" Korean compared to me, and helped me out when I decided to attempt to make mulnaengmyun the first time. (I got the package home only to find I couldn't read ANY of the instructions)
Korean restaurants are usually based around 1 dish: ramen restaurant, kimbap restaurant, bossam restaurant, etc. In America, we're big proponents of having a spectrum of food on the menu.
Our journey in L.A. began with seollangtang, or Korean oxbone soup. I was immediately taken with how thick and meaty the broth was, and overall, how delicious the concoction was.
I checked on my go-to source for Korean recipes, Maangchi but at the time, she didn't have a recipe posted! (there were, however, three or four postings in her "recipe requests" forum begging for a recipe and video)
Then last week, Maangchi heard our cries, and posted her recipe, photos and video of seollangtang. I had yesterday off for Thanksgiving, so I decided to give it a try, starting Wednesday and continuing on Thursday.
So, I soaked the bones, par boiled them to remove dirt and scum, rinsed them, and then threw them on to hard boil for three hours.
Yeah, that clock says 12:12. I started this process at 6 p.m. on Wednesday night. And yes, the broth DOES look painfully brown and beefy.
I pulled the meat from the bones, replaced them in the pot, and called it a night.
So, I left the pot out on the porch overnight (no room in the fridge!), poked around online for answers about why my soup wasn't turning white.
Bright and early thanksgiving morning I ran back to the market where I purchased two more packages of oxtails and one package of beef feet (something I had read or watched online referenced beef feet, so I figured I'd give it a try).
I had to go through the soaking, washing, boiling, rinsing song-and-dance once again, then started my pot up again. Then we had to go to Thanksgiving dinner, and when we returned, I lit the burners once again.
Luckily, the broth started to lighten (as evidenced here, at 9:42 p.m. on Thursday).
At this point, the broth had boiled for 6 hours on Wednesday night, two hours on Thursday morning, and about one hour on Thursday night. I let it go another hour or so, then finally decided to to taste the soup and see where it was at.
It wasn't perfectly milk-white, but it was tasty and meaty. So, once again, I called it a night. I brought it for lunch today (the first photo) and it was pretty darn good.
I might throw the pots back on the stove for another couple hours tonight, but for now, I recognize it was an imperfect first attempt, but the results were still tasty.