Sunday, January 20, 2013

Slow Cooker Beef Phở

Phở is a delicious, long simmering Vietnamese beef soup with a rich, flavourful broth and light rice noodles.  Often garnished with fresh herbs, onions, and crisp bean sprouts, the complex but light broth is flavoured with cinnamon, star anise, cloves and cardamom

The slow cooker makes the process of simmering this soup much easier.  Simply add all ingredients to the slow cooker and allow it to do all the work for you!  

Top your bowl with thin sliced beef, meatballs, fresh herbs and onions before serving and enjoy a warm bowl of traditional Vietnamese comfort food!

Traditionally, the beef bones, shank or oxtail are parboiled and rinsed before adding to the broth to remove impurities and ensure a clear broth.  I have skipped this step in the interest of saving time and do not find it detracts from the broth in terms of flavour but it is up to you!  I also add a can of chicken broth to my broth. I find it helps deepen and add complexity to the flavour.  If you are using a combination of beef shank and beef bones with a decent ratio of meat, marrow and connective tissue you may not need it, I like the resulting flavour however so I add it in! 

Slow Cooker Vietnamese Beef Pho
Serves 4

Prep Time 20 mins
Cooking Time ~6/10 hours (slow cooker)

Printable Recipe


2 lbs beef shank (or oxtail or beef bones -with meat on)
2 medium yellow onions
2 garlic cloves
10 cups water
2 cups chicken broth (optional)
1/2 cup fish sauce
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 packet whole Pho spice -or- 
5 star anise, about 20 whole cloves, 2 cinnamon sticks, 4 black cardamom pods, tbsp whole peppercorns
1 package dry or fresh rice vermicelli noodles - Bahn Pho

  1. Toast Spices in a dry skillet over medium heat until crackling and slightly fragrant.  Remove and set aside.  Peel onions and cut in half.,  Place in same dry skillet cut side down and allow to char one side.  Remove from pan and set aside.  Peel garlic cloves, set aside.
  2. Place beef shank, oxtail or bones in slow cooker.  Add water, fish sauce, ginger, sugar, onions, garlic and chicken broth to slow cooker.  Place whole spices in a spice bag or tea ball and add to slow cooker.
  3. Cover slow cooker and set on high 6 hours (or low for 10)
  4. After 6 hours, remove spice bag from broth.  Remove onions and meat from broth.  Remove any meat from bones to serve with soup.  Prepare rice noodles according to package instructions and place in bowls.  If using raw, thin sliced beef, place over noodles.  Ladle hot broth over noodles.  Garnish with shredded beef, fresh herbs, thin sliced green onions and hot sauce.

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