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Beef Pho

Vietnamese Beef Pho

  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4.5 hours
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: soup
  • Cuisine: Vietnamese

Description

Classic Vietnamese Beef Pho, with a rich and savory broth, and of course delicious noodles.


Ingredients

Scale

For the broth:

  • 5 pounds beef neck bones (you need meaty bones, do not use bones that have no meat or your soup will be watery and flavorless)
  • 1 pound brisket or chuck roast
  • 3 2-inch pieces of ginger, washed and slightly smashed with the side of a knife
  • 2 large yellow onions washed and halved
  • 8 whole star anise
  • 3 cinnamon stick
  • 5 whole cloves 
  • 1 cup fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar

For Serving:

  • 2 lb frozen/fresh pho noodles defrosted
  • 1 pound of shaved top round, sirloin, or rib eye
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 2 shallots or ¼ yellow onion, thinly sliced 

Garnishes:

  • ½ lb fresh bean sprouts
  • 1 bunch of thai/holy basil
  • 1 small bunch cilantro or culantro leaves
  • jalapeno or Serrano chile, thinly sliced
  • 2 limes quartered

Condiments: 

  • Hoisin sauce
  • sriracha chile sauce
  • fish sauce 

Instructions

Make the broth:

  1. Turn the broiler on high and move the oven rack to the top. Put the onions (cut side up) and ginger on a baking tray and broil for 10-12 mins. Don’t be scared. Make sure they are well browned/blackened. 
  2. Flip the onions and ginger and broil for another 6-8 mins.  In the last couple of minutes, add the star anise, cinnamon sticks, and cloves to the pan to toast. Place the spices, the onions, and ginger in a bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large stockpot, place the bones in 6 quarts of water and bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat. Let the bones boil for 5 mins to rid the bones of impurities. Drain the bones in a large colander and rinse with water to wash off any lingering bone fragments. 
  4. Rinse out the pot and then place the bones back in the stockpot along with the onion and ginger. Fill with 8 quarts of filtered water (using filtered water is recommended any time you make a soup).
  5. Bring the broth to a simmer over high heat then lower heat to medium, cover partially with a lid, and simmer for 4-5 hours, skimming the surface of impurities a couple of times for the first hour. 
  6. Fish out the ginger and onion from the pot. Then add the spices, brisket, fish sauce, sugar, and salt and simmer for about an hour and a half until the meat is fork tender.

Strain the Broth:

  1. Pour the soup through a colander into a clean container and skim the surface fat if there is a lot. A little bit of fat remaining on the surface is fine and will give the soup body and richness.
  2. If you are making the pho in stages, which is a great idea, chilling the stock in the fridge overnight will simplify de-fatting as the fat will congeal at the top and make removing it very easy.
  3. You should have about 6 quarts of broth. Add a little water if you’re short or reduce the liquid for a couple mins over high heat if you have a lot more. Taste the broth. It should be more salty than you would normally drink since the noodles and vegetables will dilute the broth. Adjust with some salt if needed.
  4. Slice the brisket into thin slices against the grain. If your meat is too soft to slice, chill it along with the stock and cut it when it is cold, which will be much easier. Put all of the meat into a storage container and refrigerate if not using right away.

For the Noodles and Garnishes:

  1. If you need to make your own shaved beef, put the top round or sirloin into the freezer for about 1 hour until slightly frozen. Using a sharp knife, slice the meat as thinly as possible across the grain. When all the meat is sliced, gather it onto a plate and refrigerate until ready to make the noodles.
  2. Wash the bean sprouts, cilantro, and basil and mound onto a large platter. Add the cut limes to the plate and refrigerate until ready to serve the noodles.
  3. Bring the stock to a simmer before preparing the noodles. If you need to reheat the brisket, take a little of the stock and put it into a separate pan with the brisket. Put a lid over the pan and let the meat reheat gently over medium heat.
  4. Put the noodles into a large bowl. Bring 2 quarts of water to boil and pour the water over the noodles. Use tongs or chopsticks to stir the noodles for 1 minute and then drain the noodles into a colander and rinse with cool water. Do not let the noodles sit in the hot water for longer than 1 minute-you want your noodles springy and chewy, not mushy.  

To Serve:

  1. Divide the noodles into 8 deep soup bowls and top with the hot brisket slices, the cold raw meat, some sliced onion, and a sprinkling of scallions. (I also used some of the braised meat off of the neck bones in the photos).
  2. Bring your broth to a rolling boil. Then ladle 2-3 cups of the broth over the noodles, trying to avoid the raw meat so it doesn’t discolor from the heat. But if you prefer your meat cooked well, go ahead and pour the hot broth over the raw meat. Serve immediately. Guests can add their favorite garnishes and adjust the flavor of the beef pho with the condiments at the table. 

Notes

I hate to throw away the bones with all of that meat and would encourage you to remove the meat from the bones and save it for another use. You can use the meat in the pho itself, in stir-fries, as a filling for tacos or hot sandwiches, or even in other soups. Here is a link for a quick recipe using the leftover meat.

Keywords: pho, soup, vietnamese, beef, noodles