Quick-ish Beef Pho

Quick-ish Beef Pho, with Sriracha and Hoisin sauce
Quick-ish Beef Pho, with Sriracha and Hoisin sauce

So one of my pet peeves about the corn thing is no more going out for Vietnamese food, which is one of my favorite things ever. I actually made and pressure canned my own safe Hoisin sauce, and fermented my own Sriracha sauce so that I could still eat them. But you have to have stuff to eat the Hoisin and Sriracha on, and it’s winter, and we need pho. And we need an easy, quick-ish pho that it doesn’t kill you to make on a weeknight. You could do it the more traditional way, but again, we need dinner fast on a weeknight. This is why it’s good to have some of the Roasted Beef Stock around, either pressure canned, or in your freezer.

Quick-ish Beef Pho

Serves two really hungry people.

For the broth:

  • 2 shallots (peeled, cut in half and broiled until browned)
  • 6 cups of Roasted Beef Stock or a commercial variety if you can get some that’s safe for your allergies
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 ounce (or a nice thick piece between an inch and two inches long) of fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced into a few pieces
  • 2 star anise (whole)
  • 5 cloves (whole)
  • 1 Tablespoon of fish sauce (optional) – make sure it’s safe for you
  • 1 Tablespoon of sugar

For the fixings:

  • one half of a 16 oz package of rice noodles
  • a half pound of extra lean shaved steak
  • mung bean sprouts
  • a lime, sliced into wedges
  • fresh basil leaves or fresh chopped cilantro, or both
  • one half of a small red onion sliced very thinly
  • a Thai chili or two, sliced thinly

Turn your oven to its broil setting or preheat your oven to 500°F. Move your oven rack to the highest setting, and place your peeled and halved shallots on a baking sheet and put them in the oven. Check them every three to five minutes until they are browned as shown below.

Broiled Shallots on baking sheet
Broiled Shallots on baking sheet

While the shallots are broiling, place the Roasted Beef Stock in a stockpot, along with the cinnamon stick, sliced ginger, star anise, cloves, fish sauce, and sugar. Bring it to a boil, then turn it down to a simmer.  When the shallots having finished broiling, slice them into pieces and add them to the stock.

Pho broth simmering away
Pho broth simmering away

In another stockpot, bring enough water to cover your rice noodles to a boil.  Add the rice noodles to the water and boil for 3-5 minutes or so until they are cooked to your liking, and then strain them.  At this point, I parcel them out in the bowls I intend to serve them in, as the noodles may stick together too much if you let them sit in one container (they will un-stick when you add the broth). Wash your mung bean sprouts and then put your preferred amount of sprouts in each soup bowl. Slice your red onion finely, and then add some to each soup bowl.

Sliced red onion
Sliced red onion

Bring your pho broth back to a boil. At this point I scoop out the cinnamon, ginger, star anise, and cloves. There are two ways to approach your beef depending on your comfort level. First, you can add the raw shaved steak to the bowls and allow the heat of the pho broth being poured over it to cook it.  Second, you can put the beef in the pho stock and let it cook for just a bit before ladling it into the bowls. I tend to go for the first approach, but it’s up to you. Pick an approach and add your beef and pho broth to the bowls.  Place a couple of basil leaves, a lime wedge, some of the chopped cilantro, and the sliced thai chilis on top of the soup.

Quick-ish Beef Pho before adding condiments
Quick-ish Beef Pho before adding condiments

Garnish with safe Hoisin, Sriracha, or chili garlic sauce to your taste, if you have safe versions.  Enjoy!

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