Many folks believe that their favorite restaurant dishes or recipes are difficult to accomplish skillfully, require a ton of additional supplies, or are so labor-intensive as to negate the need to ever try concocting the dishes at home. I am here to tell you that not only is it easier than you think to make pho at home, but it’s infinitely more delicious.

Now, before you purists out there scream at me for mixing meat sources in a pho broth, the idea was just to use what I had on hand. Traditionally, pho is made with just beef bones or just chicken bones, but I decided to use both as well as a spare pork shoulder bone I had lying around. Tradition be damned, more flavor is always better in my opinion as long as the core cooking method remains the same.

If you’re craving a delicious, hearty, flavorful soup as the months get colder and colder, look no further than my first foray into attempting a pho recipe!

Ingredients:

Broth

  • 1 qt chicken broth
  • 5 qt water
  • Chicken bones and giblets
  • 1 pork shoulder bone
  • 5 lbs beef bones (oxtail, marrow, etc.)
  • 2 large onions
  • 4 oz fresh ginger
  • 5 whole star anise
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 1 T coriander seeds
  • 1 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 ½ T kosher salt
  • 4 T fish sauce
  • 1 oz yellow rock sugar

Accompaniments

  • Banh Pho flat rice noodles
  • Top round, chuck, or flank steak sliced as thinly as possible (Tip: Freeze meat for 15 minutes to make slicing thin easier)
  • Thai Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Mung bean sprouts
  • Limes
  • Whole chili pepper, sliced
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Sriracha

Method:

  1. Set your oven to broil on high. Slice the onions in half and place on a sheet tray with the knob of ginger. Broil for 5-10 minutes, or until skins are blackened. Remove skins and discard.
  2. Take a large piece of cheese cloth and arrange the onions, ginger, chicken bones, giblets, pork shoulder bone, beef bones, star anise, cloves, cardamom pods, coriander seeds, and cinnamon stick and tie into a bundle.
  3. Place the bundle in a large stock pot and cover with chicken broth, water, kosher salt, fish sauce, and yellow rock sugar and set to high heat.
  4. When the mixture boils, turn it down to medium-low and boil for 2 hours uncovered, skimming off any impurities and fat that float to the top along the way.
  5. In a separate, heat-sauce bowl, cover banh pho noodles with boiling water and allow to sit for 1-3 minutes, or until they’re al dente and flexible. Drain the noodles and set aside.
  6. Arrange a platter with cilantro, Thai basil, mung bean sprouts, lime wedges, sliced chili pepper, hoisin sauce, and sriracha.
  7. When the 2 hours is up, carefully remove the cheese cloth bundle from the broth and place in a large bowl to cool down until it can be discarded. Leave the broth to boil gently.
  8. In a bowl, place noodles and slices of raw beef on top to your desired volume of each.
  9. Ladle the boiling pho broth over the top and watch as the meat cooks to the perfect doneness.
  10. Taste the broth first before adding anything, and then proceed to add any of the prepared garnishes and sauces that you desire to tweak the flavor of the broth to your preference.
  11. Sit back and enjoy a pho-king job well done!

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