This month's challenge came compliments of Jaden Hair who authors one of my favorite blogs of all time, Steamy Kitchen, and she's also just released her first cookbook, The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook: 101 Asian Recipes Simple Enough for Tonight's Dinner. For the challenge, Jaden chose her recipe for Pho, which is a classic Vietnamese noodle dish consisting of rich chicken, seafood or beef broth with lots of fresh herbs and vegetables. If you haven't had Pho, then you're missing out. It's soothing, filling and also very healthy.
While Jaden provided her amazing recipe for Chicken Pho straight out of her new book, there was also the option to try out her recipe for Beef Noodle Pho from Steamy Kitchen. While I had every intention of making the chicken version, upon arriving at the market last week, I just couldn't pass up the beautiful, meaty pastured beef bones from Sun-Fed Beef, a new addition to my market. And Jaden says, to make good beef Pho, you need some good bones. Let me tell you, these bones had marrow and loads of meat still attached. They were the best bones I've ever seen.
Making Pho might sound daunting, but the actual process is incredibly simple: simmer beef bones, onions, ginger, fish sauce and spices together in the largest stockpot you have for a few hours. Then strain the broth through a cheesecloth to make sure no stray bones, spices or onion bits find their way into your Pho. I made mine the day before we planned to eat it so that the next day, all I had to do was rinse mint, basil and cilantro leaves and bean sprouts. slice some lime wedges and cook some rice noodles which all accompany the broth.
We had friends over to enjoy Jaden's Beef Pho and, let me tell you, every one of us on down to baby girl and our friends' two year old boy devoured it. I've had flimsy, flavorless Pho broths before, but Jaden's broth has redefined Pho for me. It was fragrant and full of flavor to the point where the next day, during baby girl's naptime, I heated up some left over broth in a mug, squeezed a bit of lime and relaxed with a book. When broth is good enough to stand on its own, you know you've got something amazing on your hands. I am so in love that I just may make it again this weekend. I hope you'll try it soon!
Click Here: for Jaden's amazing recipe for Vietnamese Beef Pho
And, Click Here: to check out the other amazing Daring Cooks and their challenges
A few notes on Jaden's recipe:
- I couldn't find the flat rice noodles Jaden speaks of in her recipe so I used Vermicelli rice noodles instead. They were very tasty and easy for baby girl to eat, but I'm definitely going to be on the lookout for the flat ones.
- I know I'm supposed to follow the recipe to a T, but I just couldn't bring myself to parboil the bones for 10 minutes, throw away the broth and then start simmering. So, I broke the rules and boiled the bones vigorously for 10 minutes, skimming off any scum before adding the onions and ginger and spices and simmering it together. Maybe I'm missing something, but my friends, the hubby and the kids all thought it was out of this world so feel free to take this short cut.
- One of our guests is adjusting to life with diabetes and so she couldn't eat as many noodles so I added some wood-ear mushrooms to give her a little something extra. They were a great addition.
Leftovers: Jaden's recipe says it serves 8, but we actually got more like 10 servings for $4.60 a serving.