Copied from Stephanie O'Day's A Year of Slow Cooking.


Day 148.
Phee Phi Pho Phum.
this is good.you should make some.
I think one of the best things about making this soup was the day of jokes. The jokes rock.
"You made this? Pho reals?"
"Pho sure I did."

Every Monday Adam goes out to lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant and has pho. I've never gone out for pho, and he has never brought me back any. After about the sixteenth week, I stopped secretly hoping he'd bring me some and started whining about it out loud.
I was thrilled when I discovered Erin's blog and read her Pho recipe. I could tell that it would transfer nicely to slow crockpot cooking, and was excited to have some pho of my own.

Although I used homemade beef stock for this recipe, it's okay to use a can or a carton.

The Ingredients. adapted from The Skinny Gourmet
--6 cups beef broth or stock
--2 inch chunk of ginger (I just read that Erin said to use 1/4-1/2 inch of peeled ginger. oops. I didn't peel and just threw a hunk in)
--3/4 t anise 
--1 cinnamon stick
--2 sliced green onions
--1 lb thin sliced beef (I used stir-fry meat from the butcher)
--package of rice noodles (usually in the ethnic aisle in the grocery store)
--1 t fish sauce (anchovies, salt, water. ethnic aisle again. it smells horrible.)
--1/2 t kosher salt
--1/2 t black pepper

The Directions.
Put all of the broth into the crockpot. Add the meat, green onion, ginger, fish sauce, and spices. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours, or on low for 4-6. It's done when the meat is fully cooked. I used a 6qt Smart Pot for this recipe and it took a good 4 hours on high for the large amount of broth in my crock to get hot enough to cook the meat. 

15 minutes before serving, add the entire package of rice noodles to the pot. Push them under the liquid with a wooden spoon, and cover.

By the time you set the table, the noodles will be tender and glass-like. Serve in bowls. We didn't add any additional garnish, but you can add bean sprouts, fresh cilantro or basil, and lime wedges.


The Verdict.
This has a very nice mellow flavor. I loved the hint of anise (tastes like black licorice) and the cinnamon. I needed to add more salt because I used the homemade stock as the base. Adam said it tasted the same as the restaurant's, but not as oily or as salty.

The next day the flavors were even more pronounced (but the noodles got weird. Next time I'm not going to add all the noodles at once) and made a lovely lunch. The night I prepared this, we had company and the children were playing too hard to stop and give it a taste test. But the little one ate quite a bit the next day for lunch.


Note: As with most Asian cooking Pho can have just about anything in it as long as the base of the soup remains the same and has rice noodles in it. Pho can be made with any type of protein, can include tofu, and pretty much whatever vegetables you feel like adding. If you have the time I would recommend pan searing any meat you intend to use before adding it to the slow cooker, this will result in a deeper flavor as well as better color in the meat. There is nothing I find less appealing than the look of boiled meat.
 


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