Have I mentioned how much I love soup? No... I guess not. This is a brand new blog. BUT, if this was a seasoned blog, with a few years worth of archived recipes, you'd see a pattern.
So, how absolutely wonderful that my very first recipe post would be a SOUP. ^__^
Have I mentioned how much I love soup?
Pho is a classic Vietnamese soup. I was inspired by a recipe I saw on Steamy Kitchen
Her recipe is based on traditional methods of making Pho, using knuckle bones and all the gorgeously fragrant whole spices. I didn't happen to have knuckle bones in my fridge but I DID have some left over prime rib bones and meat on hand from a luscious dinner the night before, I plunged in with a few modifications. I'd like to share them with you and encourage you to try this approachable version of Pho.
And if you DO have knuckle bones, I'd say, "go-all-the-way". ~__^ wink.
I rough chopped onions, celery, and ginger root into 1/4" thick slabs. I heated oil in my beloved Dutch oven, (yes I have a deep affinity for this simple kitchen tool), and added the veggies, letting them char in places and softening. I added hot water & chicken stock, then the left over meaty prime rib bones.
In the meanwhile, I gathered the essential flavors of Pho.
Yes, you can buy some Pho seasoning packets at your local Asian market, but there's something sensorial about using whole spices that you've assembled and tied up in a muslin or cheesecloth sack. The smells, textures, and flavors are deeper, and more profound. A couple extra steps are almost always worth it when cooking. ^__^ Spices included: Star Anise, (aren't they cute?), cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, whole black peppercorns, fennel seeds, cloves, coriander seeds.
I tied the sack of spices up, plunged them into the pot, added some fish sauce & salt and put to the heat. Our wood-stove is in the constant "ON" position these cold days so it provided a homey spot to let my Pho happily simmer away.
Christmas music was resounding in the background as it all bubbled, seeming to underscore the joyful things to come,
"Deck the halls with boughs of holly, Pho-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la!
After a couple hours of lovely simmering, I strained the broth, saving as many bits of meat as I could, then shredded and added back to the broth. At this point some tasting is in order. The broth is the essential thing in Pho. Yep, there are many gorgeous adornments, (Bright green slices of jalepeno, crisp pale mung beans, ruffly bits of cilantro), like dangly earrings on a beautiful woman, they enhance but if the lady isn't pretty, the earrings won't convince you she is! So adding a little more fish sauce, or salt, squeeze of fresh lime juice or a spoon of sugar may be in order to get the right balance of flavors.
Your broth should be able to stand on her own, even naked. ~ blush ~
Some things to prep while your Pho is simmering:
soak your rice noodles, then quick boil them. chop jalepeno peppers into thin rings. rough chop cilantro and Thai or regular basil. slice green onions into large diagonal chunks. thinly slice any left over prime rib meat, (rare as possible!). *tip~ place the meat in freezer for a while to firm it up and it slices super thin, much easier.
All these lovely extras are heaped in their own bowls, the broth should be simmering hot and it's time to eat!
Everyone builds their own bowl of Pho:
noodles, broth, thin sliced meat, top with cool crisp mung beans, jalapeno slices, green onions, cilantro and basil. Have lime wedges available for a fresh squeeze and Sriracha sauce or Sambal Oelek chili paste for the love of extra heat. *tip #2~ the jalapenos, and the basil are the top 2 extras you should be sure to add, (besides the meat). This is my humble opinion, but as the writer, I will submit this with an air of authority.
Leftover Prime Rib Vietnamese Pho
recipe by Robin Sturm - present - www.robinsturm.com
- leftover prime rib bones, 3,4,5,+ however many you have. (I had about 6-8 bones, cut into 3 chunks, each about 2-3” wide)
- 2 Tbs. oil (coconut, grapeseed, peanut)
- 1 large onions, peeled, cut into 8 wedges
- 2-3 stalks celery, cut into 4ths.
- fresh ginger root, 5”-6” chunk, peeled & cut into ¼” thick slabs. *tip~ use side edge of a table spoon to scrape the skin off.
- 4 cups chicken stock + water to cover
- spices: 6-8 star anise, 2-3 cinnamon sticks, 2 Tbs. coriander seeds, 2 Tbs. fennel seeds, 1 Tbs. whole black peppercorns, 1 Tbs. cardamom pods, 12 whole cloves. * tie these up in a little sack of muslin or double-layer of cheesecloth
- 3-4Tbs. + of fish sauce
- salt & black pepper to taste, possibly a little sugar & lime juice
Add-ins for the Soup: *Prep each of these ingredients while your stock is simmering and put each in it’s own nice bowl to be served at the table. Everyone assembles their own soup ingredients. It’s pretty & fun!
- leftover prime rib meat, (the rarer the better), sliced as thin as you can. *tip~ wrap and put in freezer for an hour or so until it’s firm enough to help you slice it super thin.
- 1 lb. rice noodles, (very thin) *soak these in hot water for 30 minutes. Drain, then add to pot of boiling water and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes. Drain immediately, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process and toss lightly with a little oil, then cover to keep from drying out until time to serve.
- 2-3 jalapeno peppers or Thai chili peppers, or combo. Thinly sliced into rings
- 1 lb. of fresh mung beans, (bean sprouts), in fresh produce section of store.
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1 cup fresh Thai/Asian basil, (regular basil is ok too), roughly torn into large pieces. Small leaves left whole.
- 1 cup green onions, chopped into 1” long chunks, diagonally
- 1-2 fresh limes cut into wedges.
- Sriracha sauce, or Sambal Oelek chili paste
Make the Broth:
In heavy pot, (Dutch oven is perfect, or heavy soup pot), heat oil on medium-high until simmering. Add onion, celery and ginger. Allow to char a bit on sides before stirring. Cook for 4-6 minutes until softened and charred in several spots.
Add leftover prime rib bones, spice bag, fish sauce, and chicken stock, then enough additional water to fully cover everything.
Cover and allow broth to come to boil, then adjust heat to keep it simmering. Simmer for 2 + hours, or so. Add a little more water if needed, to keep it covered. The bits of meat should no longer be clinging to the bones.
Strain the broth, reserving every drop of that luscious broth and keep as much of the meat bits as you can, shredding and adding back to the broth. Discard the onions, celery and spice bag.
Return broth to low heat. Taste. Might need more fish sauce, or salt. Add black pepper to taste and even a spoon or two of sugar to balance flavors. Your call.
Prep the Add-Ins for the Soup:
Follow the specific steps to prep each of the add-in ingredients, as I explained in the ingredient list. *Be sure you’ve started these earlier, while broth is simmering.
Now the fun! Each Add-in ingredient should be in it’s own bowl at the table and the pot of broth should be piping hot.
Each person assembles their own bowl as follows, (but according to personal taste):
big pinch of noodles
sliced, rare prime rib meat
broth, (be sure to get some of the bits of meat that cooked in it)
jalapeno pepper rings
cilantro and basil
add Sriracha sauce or Sambal Oelek as desired for more heat.
CONSUME! and enjoy. ^__^
Give it a try and share your thoughts, questions, share pics, etc.