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Regional Recipe - Vietnamese Beef Pho

Beef Pho
Regional Recipe - Vietnamese Beef Pho

Pho, pronounced Fa, is a Vietnamese soup consisting of broth, rice noodles, herbs, and meat – usually beef, sometimes chicken, and is the perfect autumn meal – not too heavy, but warming on cooler nights.  Pho was born in Northern Vietnam during the mid-1880s. It is believed that the word “pho” is derived from “pot au feu”, a French soup.  Cooks blended the Chinese, French and native influences to make a dish that is uniquely Vietnamese. Pho is a popular street food in Vietnam and served in restaurants around the world.

Ingredients for the broth:
2 beef shanks with meat on them (about 2 1/4 pounds total)
3 large yellow onions, halved
1 6-inch piece ginger, halved lengthwise
1 head garlic, halved crosswise
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Kosher salt
2 cinnamon sticks
4 star anise pods
3 tablespoons black peppercorns
3 quarts beef broth
1/3 cup fish sauce

Ingredients for the soup:
1 pound flat rice noodles
8 ounces deli-sliced roast beef, torn into pieces
4 cups bean sprouts
1 large bunch Thai basil or mint, leaves torn
2 jalapeno peppers (red and/or green), thinly sliced
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
Hoisin sauce and/or Sriracha (Asian chile sauce), for serving

Make the broth: Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F. Toss the beef shanks, onions, ginger and garlic with the vegetable oil on a rimmed baking sheet and season generously with salt. Roast, turning once halfway through, until the meat and vegetables are slightly charred, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a large pot.

Meanwhile, toast the cinnamon sticks, star anise pods and peppercorns in a small skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan, 5 minutes. Add the beef broth, 2 quarts water, the toasted spices and the fish sauce to the pot with the beef shanks. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook, skimming off any foam that rises to the top, until the meat is tender, 1 hour to 1 hour, 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer the beef shanks to a cutting board; strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve into another large pot. (The broth can be made up to 2 days ahead; let cool, then refrigerate in a covered container.) Shred the meat from the shanks with two forks, discarding any bits of cartilage, then stir back into the broth. Discard the bones. Cook the noodles as the label directs. Divide the broth and shredded meat among bowls, then add the noodles and roast beef. Top with the bean sprouts, basil, jalapeños and red onion; serve with hoisin sauce and/or sriracha.



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