I am against the use of packaged broth. I think it’s gross, and I think it’s easy enough to make your own at home—what I do is roast off some cheap cut from the butcher shop, throw it in a pot with water, simmer (or simmer/steep like in Chicken Noodle Soup), strain, and freeze it. For the most part, we have avoided calling for packaged broth in this book.
But tension between belief and desire arose when we were working on this pho recipe, which I wanted because New York is a pho desert. (Yes, there are okay bowls here and there, but nothing to compare with what can be got in Oklahoma City or New Orleans, to say nothing of the greater Los Angeles area. Or Toronto. But I digress.) Homemade beef broth really brings this bowl over the top, but it also probably disqualifies it from being easy. Do what you think is right. Of course, co-editor Dave Chang protested this recipe on different grounds: “Why make pho? Why go through the trouble? Why not just dump a shot of amaro in the beef noodle soup?” – Peter Meehan
This comes from our first cookbook, 101 Easy Asian Recipes, out now.
- 1 large yellow onion, sliced into ½” rounds
- 1 2" piece fresh ginger, peeled and halved lengthwise
- 1 t neutral oil
- 2 lbs chuck short ribs
- + kosher salt
- 2 whole star anise
- 1 3" cinnamon stick
- 4 whole cloves
- 8 C beef broth
- 1–2 T fish sauce
- 10 oz flat rice noodles, fettuccine-size
- 1 C bean sprouts
- ½ C Thai basil leaves
- ½ C mint leaves
- ½ C cilantro, stems and leaves
- 2 jalapenos, sliced into 1/4" rounds
- + lime wedges
- + hoisin sauce, sriracha, or sambal
Heat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil.
Arrange the onion slices and ginger on the baking sheet pan and brush with the oil. Broil until charred in spots, about 10 minutes.
Season the short ribs with salt. Arrange the onions and ginger, short ribs, star anise, cinnamon, cloves, and beef broth in a large slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours, or until the meat is just tender. Turn off the slow cooker and let the broth and meat rest for 30 minutes. Remove the meat from the broth and slide off the bones. Strain the broth (discard the solids). Skim any fat that rises to the surface of the broth. (At this point, the broth and meat can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Rewarm before proceeding.)
Return the broth to a simmer and season with the fish sauce and salt.
Meanwhile, prepare the rice noodles according to package directions. Drain well.
Slice the meat into bite-size pieces. Portion out the noodles and meat among 4 large soup bowls. Ladle the hot broth into the bowls, warming the noodles and meat. Serve with the garnishes.