Pho is one of my favorite soups simply because the broth is so flavorful. A while ago I made Pho Ga which is the same soup only made with chicken. Then I went to a local Pho restaurant and the beef pho was just fantastic and I knew I had to try the beef version as well. The pho is seasoned with star anise, cinnamon stick, ginger, and cloves which gives the stock a fragrant and savory aroma. The most important part of making good stock is the beef. Charring the onion and ginger is an important first step for the stock as well and needs to be done over an open flame. I chose to make the stock with 4 pounds of beef neck bones with neck meat and the stock came out really well. Beefy and flavorful, it was one of my favorite stocks I have ever made! I chose some thinly sliced, good quality beef for the actual soup which cooks after pouring the boiling stock over the meat. My second favorite part (the first is the broth obviously) is all the great condiments that mix together in the broth! I chose cilantro, bean sprouts, jalapeno peppers, Thai basil, Hoisin sauce, and Sriracha for the condiments but you can pick and choose whatever you like. Making the stock takes time but it was well worth the effort as the soup turned out great!
Phở Bo (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup)
(Makes 6 servings)
- 4 pounds beef neck bones with neck meat
- 1 large yellow onion
- 1 large ginger root
- 1/4 cup star anise, whole
- 2 tbsp cloves, whole
- 2 sticks cinnamon
- 2 tsp black peppercorns
- 1/3 cup fish sauce (or to taste)
- 2 tbsp palm sugar
- 6 servings rice noodles
- 1/2 pound steak, sliced thin
- 6 handfuls beansprouts
- 2 handfuls Thai basil
- 2 handfuls cilantro
- 2 jalapeno peppers, sliced
- 1 lime, sliced
- 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 2 tbsp sriracha sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- On an open flame, place the halved onion on the stove burner and cook for several minutes until well charred. Do the same with the peeled ginger.
- Place the neck bones into a large 10 qt sauce pot and add the onion, ginger, star anise, cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns, fish sauce and sugar.
- Fill 3/4 of the pot with water and simmer for 4 hours.
- Strain the beef bones and spices from the broth and season to taste with fish sauce, salt, and palm sugar.
- Cook the strained broth for another 30 minutes.
- Cook the noodles as directed on the package and divide between several bowls. Place a handful of beansprouts and a few slices of the raw beef on top.
- Bring the broth back to a rolling boil and ladle into the bowls.
- Garnish with basil, cilantro, jalapeno peppers, lime slices, hoisin sauce and chili sauce.