As much as I've enjoyed pho over the years, up until now I'd never made it myself. Now that I've seen first hand how easy and truly delicious this Asian soup can be when made at home, I certainly won't be waiting years before making it again.
The other day when I was at my butcher shop buying the skirt steak for our last post, I bought a little extra planning to toss it in the fridge after cooking and slicing it a few days later to use in this pho. As I always share with my students, cooking extra one day with a planned left-over meal in mind is smart weeknight meal planning, and with a recipe like this pho in your repertoire, it's a tasty plan as well. Left-over pork, shrimp or chicken would all be awesome in this dish.
I can't pretend that this is an authentic pho, but it certainly masquerades as one with it's rich and flavorful broth and abundance of fresh, nutritious veggies. As with many Asian dishes, pho is not hard to cook, but does require a bit of chopping and dicing of ingredients to prep the dish. My advice to those of you who decide to make pho yourselves would be to really let your creativity flow with this baby. Stay true to the concept of a pho by using rice noodles and a flavor enhanced broth, but then make it your own with whatever combination of veggies and proteins that strike your fancy.
Cheers – Steve
- 3 quarts low sodium chicken stock
- 16 large shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and caps sliced
- 1 bunch asparagus, woody stems trimmed, and sliced on a bias
- 12 ounces rice noodles cooked, cooled and tossed with 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 pound cooked steak cut very thinly against the grain
- 2 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 5 scallions, green part sliced on a bias and reserved, white part roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
- 5 ounces, young kale or chard, washed, dried and roughly chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and shredded
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon roasted sesame oil
- Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
- sambal oelek for garnish
- 1 lime, sliced and spritzed for garnish
- Heat the sesame oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and add the sliced mushrooms and cook until nicely browned. Add the white parts of the scallions, the ginger and garlic. Sauté for a minute or two, then add the chinese five-spice powder and cook for another two to three minutes. Add the chicken stock, raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, add the soy sauce and fish sauce, then taste the broth and adjust seasoning to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Kill the heat, cover and keep warm.
- In another large pot, bring salted water to a boil. Toss in the sliced asparagus pieces and blanch for 3-4 minutes, until just cooked but still with some bite to them. While the asparagus is cooking, prep a large bowl of ice water to shock and cool the asparagus when finished. When it's ready, skim the pieces from the pot and plunge them into the ice bath. Let them sit there a few minutes to chill completely before straining and reserving them for service.
- Keep the asparagus water on a boil and toss in the rice noodles. Give them an occasional stir and cook them per the manufacturer's instructions. When done, dump them into a colander and rinse them under cold water. Let them drain for a few minutes, them toss them into a bowl with a drizzle of sesame oil to keep the strands from sticking. Mix the oil through the pasta, then cover it with plastic wrap and keep it handy.
- To serve the pho reheat the stock and add the kale or chard and let it cook until wilted. Mound some noodles in each bowl, toss some asparagus on top, then ladle the hot broth (don't forget to get some mushrooms too) over the top. garnish with the sliced steak, fresh cilantro, shredded carrot, scallion greens, and a healthy dollop of sambal. Spritz with a lime wedge and prepare to be amazed!