One thing my nana frequently said as I walked into her kitchen to eat was “All I had was ‘x’, but look… I made something real good.” She’d say it as she was pulling the lid off the pot of steaming yumminess, or removing the napkin from the plate of freshly fried beauty. I’d sit at her tiny table, roosters crowing outside and mosquitos on my legs, and she’d serve me ‘all that she had’.
If ‘all she had’ was a coconut milk and some flour, we’d end up with some handmade tortillas that would blow your mind.
Or, if ‘all she had’ was overripe bananas off our tree, we’d get buñelos aga (banana donuts). Most of the time, though, ‘all she had’ was a potato and a small piece of beef (or even beef bones) out of the freezer, or a couple pieces of chicken from the neighbor and some pumpkin tips out of her yard. And, when that was ‘all she had’, we’d end up with kadu.
Kadu is the Chamorro variation of a broth soup and it’s what I was raised on. It would be 85-90 degrees outside; I’d be sticky from the heat, yet I couldn’t wait to get off the school bus and let nana serve me a bowl. Almost every day I ate kadu over rice with a generous helping of finedene and ice cold rain water to wash it down. And, while I don’t have my sweet nana anymore, every time I make kadu I do it with her heart and feel her right her with me.
For nana, kadu was typically beef or chicken, onions, garlic and water since that was usually ‘all she had’. While I often make it just as she did, this has become one of my favorite versions:
When you have leftover BBQ bones, this is a beautiful way to use them. I mean, even when you cut off all the meat you think you can, look how meaty they still are!
So, next time you BBQ and have leftover bones, gather these ingredients and turn those meaty bones into a beautiful summer kadu:
- 6-8 cups of water
- a couple pounds of beef bones
- 1/2 pound or so of any cut of steak (fat trimmed)
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 3 stalks of celery, chopped
- 1 bunch of parsley, finely chopped
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 TBSP apple cider vinegar (Braggs is the best)
- Black pepper and salt to taste
Place all the ingredients in a pot and bring to a rapid boil.
Once it boils, cover, and turn heat down to just above simmer. Allow soup to simmer for 3-4 hours on stove top until the bones are dry and the meat can be pulled apart with a fork.
Remove the bones. Serve over precooked quinoa; and, when you set it before those you love, I hope you’ll say, “All I had was leftover bones, but look – I made something real good.”
(I miss you, nana.)