Sometimes you know a recipe’s just not going to be anywhere near authentic, not going to be nearly as good as you could get in a restaurant, but could still suffice for a quick weeknight meal. This is one of those recipes, from the cookbook How to Eat Supper. Should you really expect a full-flavored broth — the essence of pho! — in a 20 minute cooking-time recipe? No. If you haven’t yet experienced pho, this might stand on its own as an interesting soup recipe, but if you try to compare it to the real thing, it falls short. But hey — it was good enough to warm our bellies on this chilly evening.
What the pho? This just makes me want real pho, not faux pho.
What if you just think of it as a noodle soup with slices of beef in it?
Okay — in that case, it’s not bad. But the broth could still be more flavorful. You can definitely taste the broiled veggies, and they’re good, but I really need to try to disconnect the pho association.
You certainly look like you’re enjoying your sauces.
Pho Shizzle. I’m a meat dipper.
Oh, pho cryin’ out loud… enough with the puns!
Okay, fine. In fact, there’s my review of this recipe. Okay/fine. Not spectacular, but I certainly didn’t dislike it.
I agree. Good, not great.
Fee, Fi, Faux Pho
For the broth:
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3″ piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
6 whole cloves
1 whole star anise, bruised (or 1/2 tsp anise seed)
freshly ground black pepper
4 14-oz cans chicken broth
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp fish sauce
For the soup:
6 oz rice noodles
6 oz top round steak, sliced paper-thin (place in freezer for 30 minutes before slicing to make this easier)
sriracha, or other hot sauce
Place an oven rack 4-6 inches under the broiler and preheat. On a large piece of doubled-over foil, scatter the vegetables and spices from the broth ingredients (onion through black pepper) and broil for five minutes, flipping once, until the onion begins to char and the spices are fragrant. Remove from the oven and place everything in a large pot.
Add the broth, sugar, and fish sauce and bring to a low boil. Cover, lower the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. While the broth simmers, prepare the rice noodles by soaking them in warm water for 10-15 minutes, or until almost tender. (They’ll lose a little more firmness when the soup gets added.) Drain and divide the noodles between two very large soup bowls. Place the garnish ingredients on a plate and set at the table.
When ready to serve, divide the (raw) beef between the two soup bowls. Ladle the low-boil broth into the bowls (this will cook the meat pretty much instantly). Top each bowl with your preferred garnishes.