I love this soup and it is on my ‘Must Eat’ list whenever I am back in Canada. Where we live, Pho can difficult to find. There are 2 restaurants we know of that serve it, and strangely both only offer it on Thursday nights. The one closest to us closes for the summer. So we make our own.
This recipe includes instructions for making your own beef broth, from scratch, but no one will judge you if you skip that part and open a couple of boxes of store-bought low sodium beef broth (See cooks notes below). Toss in some of last nights roast beef or leftover steak, or pork or shredded deli chicken for that matter, and your hungry family will still be awestruck by your amazing cooking abilities.
This recipe serves 4 comfortably.
Pho at Home
2 kilos beef soup bones
1/2 kilo stewing beef or beef shank (leg)
1 – 3 Tbs canola oil
1 large onion, quartered
2″ piece of fresh ginger, peeled and smashed
5 scallions, white and green parts separated; white parts smashed, green part sliced and set aside
2 large cloves garlic, smashed
1 jalepeno, stem removed, halved lengthwise
5 whole star anise
1 5″ stick cinnamon, whole
2 1/2 litres water
1/4 cup soya sauce
200 gms dried rice noodles
Basil leaves, bean sprouts or shredded iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced radishes, chopped peanuts, hoisin and Sambal Olek or Sriracha sauce and those green onion tops you sliced earlier as accompaniments.
Heat oil in large stock pot over medium high heat, then, working in batches, brown the bones and beef shanks, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer browned meat to platter, adding additional oil if needed, as you go.
Once all the beef and bones are browned, cook onion, ginger, white parts of scallions, garlic and jalepeno in same pot over medium heat stirring once in awhile, until onions are soft and beginning to brown. Add cinnamon, star anise and cook, stirring 1 minute longer.
Add browned beef, bones and any accumulated juices back into the pot, along with the water and soya sauce. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 2 1/2 hours, until meat is tender but not quite falling off the bone.
Using tongs, remove meat and bones from broth. Set aside to cool a bit. Line a fine mesh sieve with a double layer of cheesecloth and strain the broth into another pot. Discard solids, skim off fat. (do ahead: cool broth to room temperature, then refrigerate up to 3 days. Fat will be easier to skim off of the chilled broth, too)
Cook noodles according to package directions.
Meanwhile, cut meat off of bones and into half inch slices and return to broth. Reheat broth and taste for seasoning. You will probably want to add a bit of salt here. Discard bones.
Divide noodles between bowls, ladle broth and meat over top.
Serve hot, with any combination of accompaniments listed above.
COOKS NOTES: If you are not into making your own stock, simmer 2 litres of low sodium beef stock or broth with white parts of the scallions, ginger, garlic jalepeno, cinnamon stick, star anise and soy sauce for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, strain the scallions and spices out. Add some leftover cooked meat, and voila! Cook the noodles and add your accompaniments. Dinner on the table in less than 40 minutes!!