Pho (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Stew)

This wax-type chile originated in Hungary and was brought to the US in the 1930’s. Yellow chiles of several different varieties are a staple in Eastern European cuisine. These chiles can be pickled, battered and fried or used in salsas and salads.

Hungarian Wax chiles have alot of flavor without the bitter aftertaste that you can get from many of the green types of chile. Try substituting some of these in your chile recipes next time.

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For Part 1, you will need:
one large (12-15 quart) stock pot
7 ½ quarts water
½ tsp salt
about 1 ½ to 2 lbs beef on the bone (neck bone or shank center cut)
1 to 3 beef marrow bones (¼ to ½ lbs)

For Part 2, you will need:
cheesecloth or spice bag
5 whole star anise
5 whole cloves
½ cinnamon stick
1 tsp whole black pepper corns
½ tsp whole coriander seeds
1 shoot of lemon grass, top leaves removed
1 knob ginger root
2 garlic cloves
¼ habanero pepper (optional)

For Part 3, you will need:
1 small daikon radish (1 cup)
1 large carrot (1 cup)
2 yellow onions
about 1 to 1 ½ lbs oxtail
1 tbsp white sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
½ tsp salt
the spice sack, from above

Suggested toppings:
Raw sirloin slices (thinly sliced)
Bean sprouts
Raw onion slices
Thai basil leaves
Lime wedges


Serves 6-8

Part 1, Starting the Broth:
Combine the water and salt in a very large stock pot and bring to a boil. Cut the beef into large chunks. Add the beef (including all of the bones) and the marrow bones to the pot. Cook uncovered at a low to moderate boil for two hours. While boiling, prepare for Parts 2 and 3. Reduce heat to low, stir, and then skim oil and fat from the surface into a heat-proof measuring cup. Further separate the oil and fat from the water in the measuring cup, once it settles, and then return the water to the pot. Discard the oil and fat.

Part 2, Preparing the Spice Sack:
Cut the knob of ginger and the garlic cloves in half. Cut the lemon grass shoot into two-inch lengths, and crack each piece in the middle (helps to release flavor during cooking). Combine all of the ingredients in the cheesecloth and tie together securely, or use a spice bag.

Part 3, Completing the Broth:
Peel the radish and the carrot. Cut the radish into circles ⅛ inch thick. Cut the carrot into wheels ⅓ inch thick. Peel and quarter the onions. Char the onion quarters over an open flame before adding them to the pot (optional). Add the radish slices, the carrot wheels, and all the other ingredients to the stock pot and gently stir. Ensure that the spice sack becomes saturated and is mostly submerged. Cover and cook on low heat at a simmer for four hours, carefully stirring every hour. As the broth simmers, it will begin to take on a darker color. It is important to let it cook for the full four hours. If a more concentrated broth is desired, simmer uncovered for the final 30-40 minutes. Add additional salt and fish sauce to taste. (Start by adding 1 tsp salt and 1 tbsp fish sauce, and adjust further from there.) With a large slotted spoon, remove all the solids from the pot. Discard the radish, onion, and any bare bones. Save the meat and carrot, which can be served with the broth if desired.

Serve the broth over cooked rice noodles in a large bowl, with various toppings.