Winter is finally here! The time for pho, stews, soups, and crockpot recipes galore – my favorite time of year! There is nothing better than the feeling of cozying up on the couch with a warm blanket, the fireplace running, and a good bowl of something warm to eat (and a nice glass of red wine 🙂 ). I know I should be posting Thanksgiving recipes this week, but I have been trying so hard to eat light before the big day of non-stock feasting, and what is lighter than a good bowl of pho! This recipe came out of one of my favorite cookbooks, and actually, the first cookbook I have ever had where I have made more than 10 recipes from it – every single one being a huge hit!
I was first introduced to pho by my boyfriend two years ago, and I can’t believe I went that long in my life without it. A really good pho broth is a process to make, and it’s hard to find one that really blows me away. So when I saw this recipe in my Lucky Peach cookbook, I was intrigued. It looked so simple to make, but I always thought to make a good pho broth it had to be harder than just a few steps in a crockpot, right?!
WRONG! You can make pho broth in a crockpot, and I promise, this recipe will blow you away! One of the main things I want to stress though, is the beef broth you first put into the pot. It must be good broth – and in my opinion, the broth you buy in cartons are not okay to use for this. If you don’t have time to make your own, here is an option I like just as much. I recently found this “Stock Options Beef Stock” at the Central Market near me in the frozen section, and it is by far the best stock I have found to cook with. If you can’t get a hold of this, I suggest using this beef flavored Demi-Glace Gold, which you can find on amazon or your local grocery store (Whole Foods, HEB, Kroger, etc.). I find these options give so much more flavor to your broth than regular stock cartons.
I apologize about the photos – I didn’t have my camera, so I used my iphone, but I will re-take and post this week!
Other than than the tip about the broth, I followed the recipe exactly and it came out UNREAL! It serves exactly 4, and was packed with beautiful flavors.
- 1 large yellow onion, sliced into ½" rounds
- 1 piece (2") fresh ginger, halved lengthwise
- 1 tsp. vegetable oil
- 2 lbs. chuck short ribs - BONE IN (or other protein - can use chicken, steak, pork, etc.)
- 2 whole dried star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 whole cloves
- 2 Tbsp. fish sauce
- 10 oz. flat rice noodles, fettuccine-size
- 8 cups beef broth (see above for suggestions on broth to use)
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Bean sprouts
- Thai basil leaves
- Mint leaves
- Cilantro, chopped
- Jalapeno, Diced
- Lime wedges
- Sambal, Hoisin Sauce, or Sriracha
- Heat your oven on broil. Line a baking sheet with foil.
- Arrange the onion slices and ginger on the baking sheet pan and brush with the vegetable oil. Broil until charred in spots, about 10 minutes.
- Season the short ribs, or other protein, with salt. Arrange the onions and ginger, short ribs, star anise, cinnamon, cloves, and beef broth in a large slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours. Turn off the slow cooker and let the broth and meat rest for 30 minutes. Remove the meat from the broth and slide off the bones. Strain the broth (discard the solids). Skim any fat that rises to the surface of the broth. (At this point, the broth and meat can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Rewarm before proceeding.)
- Return the broth to a simmer and season with the fish sauce and season with salt.
- Meanwhile, prepare the rice noodles according to package directions. Drain well and rinse the noodles in cool water.
- Slice the meat into bite-size pieces. Portion out the noodles and meat among 4 large soup bowls. Ladle the hot broth into the bowls, warming the noodles and meat. Serve with any of the garnishes you would like.
This recipe is slightly adapted from Lucky Peach Cookbook.