Pho Bo

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Pho Bo

When I want a rich, comforting soup, but that still manages to feel light – I turn to Pho Bo.  I’ve tried lots of different versions and my favorite comes from The Best Recipes in the World from Mark Bittman.  With this soup, it’s all about the broth for me.  Everything else in it is just an excuse for me to put more broth on my spoon. 

Pho Bo 

I made a few changes to the recipe.  I did mine in a slow cooker.  I put all of the spices in a cheesecloth so that they would be easy to fish out.  About an hour before serving, I removed the beef and shredded it from the bones and returned it to the broth.  I also didn’t add the rare sirloin at the end.  Like I said, for me, it’s all about the broth.  The beef that was already in there, with the noodles and the sprouts was plenty enough excitement.

Pho Bo

  • 10 star anise
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly smashed
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • one 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 4 pounds oxtail or beef bones
  • 2 bounds boneless chuck, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup nam pla (fish sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound dried rice vermicelli
  • 1 pound lean sirloin, sliced across the grain
  • 1 cup fresh bean sprouts, rinsed
  • 10 fresh cilantro sprigs
  • 10 fresh basil or mint sprigs
  • 2 fresh chiles, preferably Thai, stemmed seeded and minced
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and chopped
  • 2 limes, but into wedges

Set a stockpot over medium heat.  Add the star anise, peppercorns, cloves and cinnamon stick and toast until fragrant.  Scoop out.  Add the garlic onions and ginger and char for about 5 minutes.

Add the oxtail or beef bones, chuck and reserved toasted spices.  Add water to cover and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for about an hour.  Remove the chuck, shred and set aside.  Continue to simmer the broth for a total of 3 hours, then add the fish sauce, sugar and salt and pepper.  Cook the rice noodles, rinse and set aside.

When the broth is done, strain and reheat.  Divide the noodles, sirloin, and shredded chuck among the serving bowls and then pour in the broth.  Garnish with sprouts, cilantro, chiles and scallion, squeezing lime juice over all.

Serves 6-8



This will be my entry for Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum!


This will be my entry for Souper Sundays (Soup, Salad, or Sammie) hosted by Deb at Kahakai Kitchen.

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  1. says

    Man, I really do love soup season. This broth sounds fabulous! Now if only I could get myself to tolerate the smell of fish sauce long enough to pour it in…

  2. says

    I remember when Pho (and especially Pho lunch trucks) was all the rage in CA last year. Can you believe I’ve never tried it? I know…and I call myself a foodie. Pffft.

  3. says

    forget chicken noodle soup–the next time i’m feeling icky, this is what i want! i imagine the smells coming off that (totally awesome) bowl of soup are amazing!

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