Summer might finally be here, so, yes, it is too hot out to make soup right now. But that doesn't mean I can't share and enjoy a soup I made last month. Since not everyone I know is in a hot part of the world. And some people like to make soup in the summer anyways.
For those people, I give you a nice bowl of Pho. My absolute favorite soup in the world.
You know how when you are sick, chicken soup is usually the first thing people want to feed you? Well not me. I like chicken soup, sure, but when I'm sick and not feeling well, I'd so much rather have a big bowl of Vietnamese Pho, with rare beef, green onions and basil.
However, it is a bit time consuming to make the broth, and without good broth, the soup is nothing. So when I saw this recipe for making Pho in a crock pot on Steamy Kitchen, I hit print. Then I worried about finding beef bones. Not an easy task.
Fortunately, I found a local farmer who provided me with beef bones and put my crock pot to work. The reward of my searching and its work:
from Steamy Kitchen
For the Pho Stock:
4 pounds beef bones
4 inch section of ginger, sliced
1 package Vietnamese Pho Spices (or as many of these spices as you have: 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 teaspoons whole coriander, 1 teaspooon fennel, 3 whole star anise, 3 whole cloves, 1 cardamom pod) (I used the spices)
9 cups water
2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce or to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
For the Pho Bowls
16 ounces fresh or dried rice noodles
1/2 pound flank, london broil, sirloin or eye of round steak, sliced as thinly as possible.
11 ounces Vietnamese beef balls, cut into half (we didn't have these)
For the table
1-2 limes, cut into wedges
fresh herbs: cilantro, Thai basil, mint
2-3 chili peppers, sliced (skipped this)
2 big handfuls of bean sprouts
Sriracha hot chili sauce (skipped this)
Bring a large stockpot with water to boil over high heat. When it comes to a rolling boil, add the beef bones and boil vigourously for 10 minutes.
In the meantime, heat a frying pan on medium-low heat. Add the Vietnamese Pho Spices and toast until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Dump the spices to the empty Crock Pot or slow cooker immediately. Return frying pan to medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. When the oil is hot, add the ginger slices and the onion half. Cook until the ginger is browned on both sides and the onion half is nicely browned and softened. Add the ginger and the onion to the Crock Pot or slow cooker.
When the bones have been pre-boiled, drain, discard water and rinse bones briefly to clean them. Add the bones to the Crock Pot or slow cooker. Fill the Crock Pot with fresh, clean, cool water to just 1-1/2 inches below surface, add the fish sauce and sugar. Cover and set the Crock Pot or slow cooker to cook on low for 8 hours. Taste and season with additional fish sauce if needed.
When you are just about ready to eat, you’ll prep the rest of the ingredients for the Pho bowls. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the beef balls and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove the balls, keeping the water boiling and now cook the noodles according to package instructions. If you are using fresh noodles, all they need is a couple of minutes. Drain immediately.
Strain the stock with a fine meshed sieve. Discard the solids.
Line up 4 large bowls on counter. Distribute the noodles, beef balls and thin steak slices evenly amongst the bowls. Ladle the hot Pho stock into each bowl. The hot stock should cook the thin steak slices. Serve with lime wedges, fresh herbs, chili peppers, Hoisin sauce and Sriracha hot chili sauce at the table.