Thursday, January 24, 2008

What the Phở?

I am on a bit of a soup kick, I guess. I had a pound of thinly sliced eye of round in the fridge, and I didn't really feel like Korean or Japanese (I had yakiniku for lunch the other day, and that really sits with you). So tonight I made big bowls of phở for the hubz and myself. Btw, it's pronounced "fuh?" not "faux" - the intonation indicated by the squiggly on top of the 'o' makes the sound lilt upwards at the end, resembling a question. I only speak a few words of Vietnamese, but this I know.

Phở is so incredibly easy to make. I was able to take the lazy way out, since I already had veal demi in the freezer. (I'd normally save this for something special, but the beef stock I have has red wine in it. Also, remember the name of my blog.) There are some regional variations in the way the broth is flavored, but we're generally talking about stock made of oxtails steeped with garlic, charred ginger, star anise, cinnamon stick, clove and a bouquet garni that may or may not include a bit of lemongrass. Add raw thinly sliced beef, chewy rice noodles and a handful of bean sprouts, cilantro, basil and sliced chile, a squirt of fish sauce and lime juice, and we're talkin' phở shizzle.

Phở bò (Vietnamese beef noodle soup)
Serves 2 or 3

6 cups oxtail, beef or veal stock (from scratch is the best!)
1 bouquet garni
1 small shallot, sliced
1 2" piece of ginger, charred on stove
2 cloves garlic
3 star anise pods
1 3" cinnamon stick
3 or 4 cloves
1 tsp peppercorns
some squirts of fish sauce
1 tbsp sugar
salt to taste

Simmer broth gently for an hour or more, adding water as necessary to prevent broth from reducing too much. You should end up with 4 or 5 cups of broth at the end. Strain boiling-hot broth into bowls that contain:

rice noodles, cooked al dente
raw thinly sliced beef, such as eye of round or brisket

The meat and noodles will come up to proper doneness in the hot broth.

Serve with:
bean sprouts
fresh cilantro and basil (Thai basil, if you can get it)
lime wedges
sliced chiles
hoisin sauce
cock sauce (that bottled red sriracha stuff with the rooster on it)

I like to pile all the garnish on top for extra flavor and crunch, and I love to hit it with a bunch of cock sauce and hoisin. The people in
Vietnamese restaurants probably think that I'm totally white trash for doing that, but I eat eggs with ketchup, too, so maybe I am.


kellypea said...

This sounds yummy, too. We've had a few soups lately, but not Asian. Where has my head been? Anything with noodles would get slurped up!

Peter M said...

I can taste this soup. I have this soup (here in Toronto) with the star anise.

I often have these as a meal, very satisfying.

Pixie said...

Where's my spoon?? That just looks so good. Wonderful and tasty ingredients.

And ta (umm, I mean thank you) for adding me to your blogroll. :)

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

That looks beautiful, Heather! I am so glad you are posting more, yours is quickly becoming one of my most favorites.

Núria said...

Hola Heather, great soup. I'm passing it over my sister, since she came back from Vietnam she loves to cook their way! Thanks!

Heather said...

Kelly - Oodles of noodles! Udon, ramen, I love it all.

Peter - Isn't star anise a magical thing? I like to sneak it into my snickerdoodles too, for a little punch.

Pixie - You are so welcome! You have a great blog.

Jenn - omg, I'm going to cry! You are so sweet to always comment. It's so gratifying knowing I have readers. :)

Nuria - I hope your sister likes the recipe - I'm so jealous that she was in Vietnam!

Ben said...

Hi Heather.

This soup sounds delicious. Right now it is like 15 degrees right here and we could use some hot soup to keep us warm. I love your blog, and the music! Radiohead, OH YEAH!


Emiline said...

This really does look phở shizzle.

I've never had phở before, (I don't get out much) but I want to make this.

I would put lots of cock sauce on mine, too. Lots of cock sauce.

I missed the Radiohead, oh well.

Toothfairyrecipes said...

Looks gorgeous as usual. thanks for sharing

Heather said...

Emiline - The Radiohead is like 5 songs in, and since you read my blog frequently you're prolly never here long enough to hear it.

Toothfairy - Thanks for dropping by! It's always lovely to see your comments.

Nilmandra said...

That looks lovely and authentic!

Emiline said...

I made it! Sort of a variation of yours. I think I'm going to have heartburn.
I had to keep blowing my nose, also.

It was good! I used cilantro, but I just can't make myself like cilantro. I keep trying. I don't get it-I like strong flavors.