Phó, the versatile clear Vietnamese soup, has recently flitted across my radar. While there are shops where you can pick up Phó to go, this one-dish wonder is so easy to make at home, there’s no reason not to try it. Preparation is simple and fast; you’ll be able to have it on the table within half an hour. Fresh veggies boost the health factor. Where I diverge from a noodle shop, for this version, is to use pre-cooked meats, thinly sliced. I happened to overdo it last New Year’s Eve, and prepared one too many pork loin roasts. That turned out to be a good thing, if you count leftovers in your freezer as gold!
Savory Beef Noodle Pho Recipe
6 cups quality beef broth (I recommend Kitchen Basics)
3 1/2 oz fresh ginger, peeled, sliced and slightly pounded to release juices
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise (find dried, in jars in the spice section)
1 tsp black peppercorns
3 T Vietnamese fish sauce
1 package rice noodles, bean thread noodles, or Udon noodles
1 package bean sprouts, washed and drained
1/2 lb pork loin roast, cooked (see recipe) and thinly sliced into 1/4 inch strips
Note: Prepare roast pork loin for another meal and slice leftovers into slices 1/2 inch thick. Wrap tightly in plastic and tinfoil to prevent freezer burn. Pull out one meat packet as needed to prepare phó. Defrost in refrigerator before using.
1/3 thinly sliced cucumber
4 thinly sliced radishes
3/4 cup baby carrots, minced
3 scallions, thinly sliced
Put the stock, ginger, cinnamon, star anise, peppercorns and fish sauce into a 4 quart saucepan, bring to boil and then reduce heat to simmer, covering, for 20 minutes. Strain broth and discard seasonings. Return broth to pot and bring back to gentle boil.
Prepare noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water until ready to assemble.
To serve, place noodles in bowls. Top with sprouts and pork slices and ladle broth over. Garnish with remaining vegetables. Serve piping hot.
Stephanie Davis of Winacea, a wine education business, thinks it’s fun to pair wine with a recipe like this because you can let your imagination take over. She recently tasted a sparkling Pinot Noir, which is rarely made and not easy to find, except for this Shug Brut Rouge de Noir. Made the same way as champagne, it delivers the same delicate and complex flavors. It’s a match for the rich, meaty flavors of the Phó, as well as the raw, fresh ingredients. Priced at $35/bottle.
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Award-winning author Emily Kemme writes about human nature, because living brings its own humor, angst and heroism. Follow her on her blog, Feeding the Famished, https://www.facebook.com/EmilyKemme, or on Twitter @where she hopes you’ll find illumination of the everyday in a way that highlights its brilliance. Vodka and recipes optional.