Vietnamese Beef Pho
This is a great recipe if you have a bit of extra time on your hands and want to try out something different! Most pho recipes are made using a big stock pot on the stove, but we used a slow cooker this time so we could just set and forget.
Pho is a classic Vietnamese noodle soup that can be made with either chicken or beef. Our version is made with free range grass fed and finished beef, which provides the best base possible for your broth.
3 - 4 Beef Short Ribs (you could also use Ox Tail)
600g Beef Brisket (you can adjust this weight if you need to)
1kg Beef Chuck Bones
Optional: a few pieces of marrow bone (ask your butcher to cut up a marrow bone for you. You could add the whole marrow bone, but it tends to make the broth a bit too fatty)
8 star anise
2 cinnamon quills
5 cardamom pods
1 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
1 large brown onion
1 large piece of ginger
2 tbsp caster sugar
4 tbsp fish sauce (or to taste)
Flat rice noodles
Sliced spring onions
Thinly sliced red onion (a few pieces to serve)
Optional (to serve):
1. Rinse all of your meat and bones under cold water, then add to a large pot of water and bring to the boil. Leave your bones boiling for around 5 mins - as the bones boil, impurities will rise to the top of the water (boiling beforehand ensures these bits won't end up in your final broth). Drain and rinse the bones and pop aside.
2. Cut your onions and ginger in half, then cut the ginger into a few smaller pieces.
3. In a skillet or heavy based fry pan, char the onions and ginger (this will usually take 5 - 10 mins).
4. Remove ginger and onion and toast your spices (star anise, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and coriander seeds).
5. Add everything to your slow cooker (meat, bones, onion, ginger, spices) and fill with water to the maximum capacity line. Start your slow cooker off on high and cook for 3 - 4 hours.
6. Remove your brisket after about 3 - 4 hours and test to see if it is cooked through to your liking (if not pop it on for a bit longer). Remove, wrap and pop in the fridge.
7. Most pho recipes that are made on the stove would cook the broth for 3 - 6 hours. As we're using a slow cooker, we tried putting ours on for longer. After the initial cooking period, we turned the cooker down to low and left the broth on overnight, which gave it an awesome, deeper beef flavour (think bone broth).
8. Once your broth has been in the slow cooker for your desired amount of time, add in the fish sauce plus any extra to taste, as well as a few Thai basil leaves. Let this infuse for a further 30 mins - 1 hour.
9. Prepare your noodles per packet directions, then once they're soft, rinse with some cold water to stop them from overcooking while you get everything else ready.
10. Strain the broth using a fine mesh sieve. Any leftover broth can be frozen for later use. We also put the meat from the short ribs aside to make sure nothing was wasted!
11. Remove beef brisket from the fridge and thinly slice.
Note: Traditionally you'd use thinly sliced raw beef rather than cooked, so if you prefer you can always slice up your favourite cut of steak very thinly (it will cook in the broth).
12. Grab a large serving bowl, add your noodles to the bottom, then pour the hot broth over this. Drop in your sliced beef and top with finely sliced spring onions, red onion and Thai basil, plus any of the optional extras that may take your fancy.