Meaty beef short ribs and beef shank ensure a rich broth, the star of this Pho Soup. Simmering cinnamon and star anise ensure a wonderfully scented house.
…the season of suicide and divorce and prickly dread, wherever the wind blows.”
– Joan Didion, Slouching Toward Bethlehem
No riot of color or chilling air, October’s subtlety in LA is lost to anyone not labeled “native.” Feigning Hollywood starlet ennui, tanned summer leaves serenely suicide from weary trees, “Too hot,” they lament, “I cannot stay a moment longer.” Stifling Santa Ana winds unfurl scents of burning sagebrush with feelings of prickly dread and stopped time. “Earthquake weather,” we proclaim. Porch lights flicker awake by 6:00 pm, lighting barefoot children pedaling bikes in dusty cul-de-sacs. LA quietly shifts into autumn, leaving paroxysms of sunset hues to the other coast.
Coincidentally, this soup popped up on my Facebook memories for today – I first made this recipe exactly seven years ago.
Faux Pho Soup
Meaty beef short ribs and beef shank ensure a rich broth in the Pho Soup. Simmering cinnamon and star anise ensure a wonderfully scented house.
- 1 ½ lbs. bone-in beef short ribs
- 1 ½ lbs. beef shank, cut into 2 or 3 pieces
- ½ onion, sliced
- 1-inch piece ginger, smashed
- 1 bunch scallions, white parts smashed and greens chopped and reserved
- 2 large garlic cloves, smashed
- Fresh red chili or serrano chili, stemmed and halved
- 6 cups water
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 whole star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 8 oz. dried flat Asian rice noodles
- Mint sprigs, roughly torn
- Cilantro leaves, roughly torn
- Lime wedges
- salt and white pepper
- Brown meat in batches in a large soup pot with a bit of oil. Set meat aside. Saute onion, ginger, white parts of scallions, garlic cloves, and chili until onion begins to brown.
- Add water, soy sauce, star anise, and cinnamon. Return meat and any accumulated juices to pot. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 2 ½ hours.
- Transfer meat to cutting board. Discard bones and membrane and shred meat into small pieces.
- Strain broth through a sieve lined with cheese cloth and skim fat. Add meat back into broth and season with salt and white pepper.
- Meanwhile, cook rice noodles according to package directions. Place noodles in individual bowls, add scallion greens, torn mint springs and torn cilantro leaves. Ladle hot soup over noodles and finish with a squeeze of lime juice.