Pho

Difficulty Level: Sous Chef

Pho. The best soup ever made. Ever. Whichever way you pronounce it (Pho or Phu) you know it’s good.

Pho is a Vietnamese soup made from beef bones that, mixed with a lot of other flavors and spices, make a rich and savory bone broth. Serve it with rice noodles and the meat(s) of your choice as well as the toppings you like.

The first time I had Pho was in Los Angeles, CA in June 2012. I remember this because my husband, Ryan, and I got married June 9, 2012 and for our honeymoon we went on a West Coast road trip. We got married in Reno, Nevada in my Grandparents backyard and the very next day we drove to San Francisco then drove down Highway 1 all the way down to L.A. This trip is still to this day my most favorite trip the two of us have ever been on. Two weeks of seeing some pretty cool things; Big Sur, Carmel, L.A., Knott’s Berry Farm, Las Vegas, Utah, Wyoming, and back to Oregon where we lived.

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On this trip I was being super adventurous, because we knew we would probably not have another trip like this again. We got to L.A. and accidentally bumped into a Pho restaurant. I wish I could remember the name or location of this place because it was literally divine.

Since the adventurous side of me was out, I went for the combination bowl. It was full of raw steak, meatballs, tripe, and tendon. Now all the tripe, tendon, and raw meat isn’t something that you’re going to get at an everyday restaurant, but if you feel like going for it, it is so good. It took me a long time to recreate this Pho and still to this day every time I eat it, I get taken back to that mystery restaurant on our third day of our honeymoon.

And it’s still the best trip we’ve ever had.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2.5 pounds beef marrow bones (you can also use beef soup bones)
  • 1 onion, unpeeled and cut in half
  • 5 slices fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 1 jalapeno- seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro- roughly chopped, plus more
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1- 8 ounce package dry rice noodles
  • 1 pound steak of choice- thinly sliced (I use Ribeye)
  • 1 tablespoon green onions- sliced
  • 1 lime- cut in wedges
  • hoisin sauce
  • gojuang sauce

What you need to do:

Preheat oven to 425ºF.

Place beef bones on a baking sheet and roast in preheated oven for 15 minutes.

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After 15 minutes, add the onion to the baking sheet and put back in the oven for another 45 minutes until the onion is soft and blackened.

Place bones, onion, ginger, salt, cinnamon stick, star anise pods, 1/2 cup cilantro, jalapeno and fish sauce into a large stock pot. Cover with 2 quarts water. Bring to a boil then reduce to low. Simmer on low heat for 6-10 hours, stirring occasionally. The longer it sits, the better!

An hour before you’re ready to serve, soak the noodles in room temperature water for an hour.

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Slice the meat very thin, if you feel comfortable and have a good knife. If you don’t feel comfortable, ask your butcher to slice it thin for you. Keep it on ice until you’re ready to use it.

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Carefully strain the broth into a big saucepan and set aside on low heat, keeping on a very low simmer.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the soaked noodles for 1 minute. That’s it, 1 minute!

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Divide noodles among 4 bowls. Top with raw steak*** and cilantro.

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Pour hot broth over the top, stir and let sit for about 2 minutes until the steak is partially cooked and no longer pink. Serve with lime wedge, hoisin sauce, and gojuang sauce.

***If you’re not a fan of cooking your meat in the hot broth, you can also cook your meat by pan searing it very quickly on medium heat. About a minute per side, if that. Since the slices are so thin it doesn’t take long for them to cook at all!

Also, you can just serve it with less noodles and more broth to have the meat cook more, like the second picture above.

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