Shortcut Beef Pho

Thursday, 06 Oct 2011

Just what is pho (“fuh,” more or less)?  Since this is a “shortcut” recipe, here’s my shortcut answer: pho is super-delicious Vietnamese noodle soup that will cure what ails you.  If you want to know more, here’s the trusty Wikipedia entry.   Pho is one of my favorite things to eat when I have a cold, and that’s what prompted me to try making it at home.  We’ve recently gotten hooked on a place in Falls Church called Pho Golden Cow, but I didn’t feel like traipsing over there.  Also, pho can be very salty, and I figured it would be nice to be able to control that variable.

I found this recipe with potential at Food and Wine: Spiced Beef Pho with Sesame Chile Oil.  But with 28 ingredients and 2 days of cooking time, it wasn’t going to work because I wanted pho NOW.  I stripped down the recipe to the essentials for “emergency pho” and got it down to about 2.5 hours.  It tasted great and I think it helped end my cold.  So, here goes my edited version of the Food and Wine recipe:

Beef Broth

  1. 4 pounds oxtails or beef short ribs
  2. 18 cups water
  3. 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  4. 1 medium onion, halved
  5. One 3-inch piece unpeeled fresh ginger, halved lengthwise
  6. 2 bay leaves
  7. Two 3-inch cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
  8. One 2-inch piece of rock sugar or 6 sugar cubes 1 tsp. turbinado sugar (what I had)
  9. Kosher salt
  10. 4 whole cloves
  11. 4 star anise pods, broken into pieces
  12. 2 teaspoons fennel seeds

[Add to recipe:  1 sliced jalapeno and 1/2 bunch cilantro leaves.]

Sesame-Chile Oil

  1. 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  2. 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
  3. 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper
  4. 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  5. 1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
  6. Kosher salt

Soup Garnishes

  1. 1 pound 6-8 oz. rice vermicelli
  2. 1 pound beef round, partially frozen and very thinly sliced across the grain
  3. Asian fish sauce
  4. Asian sesame oil
  5. Sriracha chile sauce
  6. Lime wedges
  7. Cilantro sprigs
  8. Basil leaves
  9. Sliced onion
  10. Sliced chiles jalapenos
  11. Escarole leaves
  12. Mung bean sprouts

MAKE THE BEEF BROTH In a large soup pot, cover the oxtails or short ribs with cold water and bring to a boil over high heat. Drain off the water. Add the 18 cups of water and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small nonstick skillet. Add the onion and ginger, cut sides down, and cook over moderately high heat until richly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and ginger to the pot along with the bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, rock sugar and 1 tablespoon of kosher salt.

Put the cloves, star anise and fennel seeds in a tea ball or tie them up in a piece of cheesecloth. Add them to the pot and simmer, skimming occasionally, until the oxtails are tender, about 2 hours. [Note:  At this point, I also added a sliced jalapeno and half a bunch of cilantro to the broth for extra flavor.]

Strain the broth in a large sieve set over a heatproof bowl.  Remove the meat from the oxtails.  [Note: I first removed the shortribs into a separate bowl, then strained the broth three times.  Once through a collander to remove the big stuff, then through a sieve, then through cheesecloth to catch some of the grease and cinnamon particles. ] Refrigerate the broth and the oxtail meat separately overnight. [While the overnight refrigeration would make an even better soup, I skipped this step in the interest of time.]

MAKE THE SESAME-CHILE OIL Heat the vegetable oil in a small saucepan. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat until golden, about 2 minutes. Add the crushed red pepper and sesame seeds and cook for 1 minute; transfer to a bowl. Stir in the sesame oil and a pinch of salt. [Let me just say, this stuff is inferno-level hot.  Even the air above it while it was cooking burned my nose and mouth. Two tablespoons of crushed red pepper is a LOT!  However, the heat, garlic and the toasted sesame flavor make this stuff addictive.]

ASSEMBLE THE SOUP Put the rice vermicelli in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Let the vermicelli soak until pliable, about 20 minutes. [Note:  one 6 oz. package of rice noodles made more than enough noodles for 6 servings of soup.  There would have been way too many noodles if I had used the 16oz. called for in the recipe.]

Skim the fat from the surface of the beef broth and discard. Bring the broth to a simmer over moderately high heat. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil.  Place the thinly sliced raw beef in a large strainer and lower it into the simmering broth for 4 seconds; transfer the meat to 6 soup bowls. Drain the vermicelli. Working in 6 batches, put the vermicelli in the strainer and lower it into the boiling water for 30 seconds, or until the vermicelli is barely tender. Drain and transfer to the bowls. Ladle about 1 1/2 cups of the broth over each bowl of vermicelli and add the chilled oxtail meat. [I skipped pretty much all of this in the interest of time and simplicity.  At this point, I put some of the soaked rice noodles in the bottom of each serving bowl.  I removed the short rib meat from the bones, and put shredded meat into each bowl.  This was more than enough meat without also cooking and adding thinly-sliced round as the recipe calls for.  I brought the broth to a boil and poured it over the noodles and meat in the bowls just before serving.]

Put each of the remaining ingredients in seperate bowls or arrange the vegetables and herbs together on a platter. Serve the soup with the condiments and the sesame-chile oil.

My favorite part of pho is adding lots of lime juice and jalapenos, especially when trying to cure a cold.  This time we also served it with basil leaves fresh from the garden and some cilantro.

We had some leftovers, so I put the broth, meat and noodles all together in a container in the refrigerator.  The next day, I skimmed the fat from the top of the broth and brought the soup to a boil before serving again with condiments.  Not surprisingly, it tasted even better the next day.  Now that I know pho can be done in an abbreviated timeframe, I will probably try this again, maybe with chicken next time.

Reader's Comments

  1. the help essay
    instant essay writer
    essay writing help online

  2. nebivolol for sale purchase nebivolol pill nebivolol price

  3. pharmacies in canada that ship to the us canadian discount pharmacy purchase amoxicillin online without prescription

  4. free casino slots instant play luckyland slots cheat codes slotomania free slots no download slots online real money

  5. essay online help
    pay you to write my essay
    write my essay generator

  6. free online penny slots machines à sous free slot slots online

  7. Great blog post.Really thank you! Want more.

  8. essay writing service discount
    best essay writing service
    write my essay reviews

  9. I am so grateful for your blog post.Much thanks again. Great.

  10. erection pills that work erection pills that work canadian pharmacy oxycodone

  11. Great blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Really Great.

  12. essay about helping others
    college admission essay writing service
    best writing services

  13. wow, awesome blog post.Thanks Again. Will read on…

  14. cheap essay writer service
    help write essay
    the best essay writer

  15. cheap pharmacy no prescription online pharmacy non prescription drugs erection pills online

  16. wow, awesome blog.Thanks Again. Want more.

  17. Hey, thanks for the blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Really Cool.

  18. buy canadian drugs prescription drugs online without doctor 100mg doxycycline
    ivermectin rx where to buy ivermectin

  19. need help with essay writing
    best essay writers online
    college essay ideas help

  20. generic diovan diovan for sale online generic valsartan 80 mg

  21. therapie comportementale et cognitive tours pharmacie de garde marseille 21 juillet pharmacie humanitaire internationale angers therapie de couple a quoi ca sert .
    pharmacie leclerc zone sud pharmacie lafayette facebook .
    pharmacie nuit aix en provence parapharmacie leclerc jardres , pharmacie bordeaux place des grands hommes .

  22. pharmacie en ligne pas cher pharmacie naturopathe bourges therapie de couple dunkerque pharmacie ico angers .
    pharmacie du soleil boulogne billancourt pharmacie ouverte fresnes .
    pharmacie roland garros boulogne billancourt pharmacie discount amiens , pharmacie lafayette zenith pau .

  23. I really like and appreciate your post. Really Great.

  24. Thanks-a-mundo for the article. Awesome.

  25. vibramycin 100 mg generic doxycycline cost of sildenafil 100mg tablets
    minocycline indications ivermectin 4000

  26. pharmacie de garde aujourd’hui kenitra produits non medicamenteux pharmacie bordeaux st jean pharmacie de garde narbonne .
    pharmacie grand avignon act therapy rumination .
    therapie de couple haute savoie pharmacie bourges malus , medicaments ototoxiques .

  27. sildenafil prices canada generic sildenafil online cost of ivermectin lotion
    buy tadalafil uk cheapest tadalafil us

  28. pharmacie caron beauvais horaires pharmacie bailly promotion pharmacie ouverte villejuif pharmacie grignon annecy le vieux .
    pharmacie universite konjac pharmacie lafayette .
    therapie comportementale et cognitive cholet act therapy for depression , pharmacie amiens sud .

  29. write my college paper for me buying papers for college help with college papers can you write my paper for me

  30. pharmacie clarines annecy le vieux pharmacie d’urgence ouverte therapie genique avantages inconvenients pharmacie lafayette gironde .
    traitement bipolaire konjac pharmacie lafayette .
    pharmacie de garde sartrouville pharmacie pas cher , pharmacie picon annecy .

  31. scientific paper writing services college paper writing services
    write my psychology paper cheap paper writing services

  32. minocycline 100 mg tablets online order minocycline 50 mg prescription drugs
    sildenafil generic cost purchase sildenafil

  33. how to get prescription drugs without doctor

  34. buy diovan 80 mg online order valsartan 160 mg without prescription buy diovan 160 mg pills

  35. write my paper one day where can i buy resume paper college paper writing services help with filing divorce papers

  36. paper writing service reviews buy a college paper can i pay someone to
    write my paper buy thesis paper

  37. write my essay canada
    buying essay
    professional essay writer

  38. Next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesn’t disappoint me as much as this one. After all, Yes, it was my choice to read, nonetheless I actually believed you would probably have something helpful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something you could possibly fix if you were not too busy looking for attention.

  39. paper writing company buy college papers buy a philosophy paper write my college paper for me

  40. pharmacie drive beauvais pharmacie livraison boulogne billancourt act therapy vs cbt pharmacie de garde marseille nuit castellane .
    pharmacie test amiens pharmacie de garde marseille maintenant .
    pharmacie questembert pharmacie annecy les fins , pharmacie dauboin annecy .

  41. professional paper writing service pay someone to write a paper thesis
    papers for sale

  42. ivermectin 3mg price

  43. mba admission essay writing service
    help on college essay
    help essays

Leave a Comment