have you guys been outside today?! it's downright frigid and wet with a nice healthy gust of ice cold wind to cut through any warm layers you may have thrown on. since days like this are such a rarity down here in south texas, it's the perfect time to dive into those comfort food recipes to warm up. pho is quickly becoming our favorite for this purpose, not only for the temperature and light texture, but thanks to the warmth the added spices in this soup provide.
i know the ingredient list for pho looks long, but we are usually able to re-purpose any leftovers into other dishes. for example the cinnamon, cardamom and cloves can be used in fall/winter baking recipes (and the shelf life of these are very long), star anise make great cocktail garnishes (it has a licorice flavor - also please see note in the ingredient list below), and the fresh herbs are easily used for tacos the next day, or the basil in red sauce for our usual italian dishes later in the week. finally, soy and hoisin sauce are staples in our kitchen for making chinese-style lettuce wraps, and the hubs puts sriracha on everything so we usually have a bottle of that hanging around as well.
this also isn't the shortest or quickest recipe in the world, but please note that most of the time is inactive, and none of the steps here are particularly difficult. this is a great broth to simmer on a sunday afternoon, and reheat on the stove during the week just before eating. if you're in a hurry you can skip the steak marinade and just thinly slice and pop it in the bowls with the rest of the accouterments while the broth warms up, but of course it's better with the added flavor!
| ingredients |
1 yellow onion, quartered
2 inch of ginger, peeled and sliced lengthwise
2 boxes of broth (i used one vegetable + one beef - low sodium varieties)
4 carrots, sliced lengthwise
2 leeks, tops trimmed and sliced lengthwise
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
spices: cinnamon sticks, star anise, cardamom, fennel seeds, bay leaf and whole cloves (while you can use a combo of these spices, the star anise is pretty crucial to take the dish from "beef soup" to "pho" - it's a signature flavor.)
dried rice noodles (also called rice sticks at the grocery store)
for bowl assembly:
flank steak, raw and very thinly sliced
1 lime, cut into wedges
sunflower shoots (bean sprouts are traditional but heb sells these shoots, which i prefer)
jalapenos, thinly sliced (i start with just a slice or two per bowl, you can add more for more heat.)
| method |
heat a large dutch oven over medium-high heat with a small amount of evoo in the pan. add the onion and ginger and toast in the pot, until color begins to develop on the aromatics. flip as needed to avoid burning. turn heat down to medium and remove pan from heat for a couple minutes.
add the carrots, leek, and two boxes of broth to the pan after it has cooled a little (otherwise you'll get steam city adding room temperature liquid into a very hot pan.) add in the salt, sugar, and spices. return to heat, cover, and bring to a simmer. turn heat to medium-low to maintain a simmer for approximately 2 hours.
1 hour before the broth will be ready, prepare the steak. you'll start with marinade, either slicing the steak or leaving it whole depending on how you prefer to cook. you have two options: marinade the whole steak and sear quickly in a pan before slicing and placing in your bowls, OR slice thinly to marinade, place directly in your bowls and allow the steak will be cooked in the bowl by the piping hot broth. if doing the latter, be sure to slice the steak suuuper thin to ensure it won't remain raw. (if you're squeamish about undercooked meat, a pan sear, then thinly sliceing is the way to go.)
next, prepare your noodles. soak the noodles in warm water for 20 minutes before dropping them into a pot of boiling water for 2-3 minutes. once cooked, add them to your serving bowls along with the marinated steak, sprouts or shoots, sliced jalapeno, basil, scallions, and cilantro. add your broth to the bowl pouring directly over the steak to warm it, and top with a squeeze of lime. taste, and add a squirt of sriracha and/or hoisin sauce to taste.