Soup for Four: Pho
The whole shebang requires three and a half hours, but most of that is cooking the broth -- the rest of the soup takes only minutes. All of the ingredients can be purchased at an Asian grocer.
- 4 pounds bone marrow
- 2 pounds beef chuck, cut in half
- One 3-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled, halved, and smashed
- 2 medium yellow onions, halved
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 10 star anise, toasted
- 5 cloves, toasted
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound thick rice noodles, cooked (we like Thai Kitchen Stir-Fry Rice Noodles)
- 1/4 pound beef sirloin, partially frozen, sliced paper thin
- 5 scallions, white and light-green parts only, sliced diagonally
- 1/2 cup bean sprouts
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 Thai chile, thinly sliced
- 1 lime, cut into quarters
In a large stockpot, bring 5 quarts water to a boil. In a second pot, add bone marrow, beef chuck, and water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes (to get rid of all impurities). Using tongs, transfer the meat and bones into the first pot of boiling water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and skim off fat.
Add ginger, onion, fish sauce, and sugar. Simmer for 2 hours. Wrap star anise and cloves in cheesecloth, tie with kitchen twine, and place in broth. Allow to infuse until broth is fragrant, about 30 minutes more.
Over a fine-meshed sieve lined with cheesecloth, strain broth into a bowl. Submerge bowl in an ice bath and cool. (If broth is not clear, strain again with a fresh piece of cheesecloth.) Season with salt and pepper.
To serve, divide noodles and beef slices among 4 bowls. Bring broth to a vigorous boil and ladle into bowls. Garnish with scallions, bean sprouts, basil leaves, chile, and lime.