Rich and full-flavored beef broth is ladled over tender rice noodles and thinly-sliced pieces of beef tenderloin. Garnished fresh bean sprouts, chilies, Thai basil and cilantro, this version of Vietnamese Beef Phở is sure to awaken your taste buds.
To blanch the meat, place everything into a tall, skinny soup pot and cover with cold water. Bring the water up to a boil over medium-high heat.
Skim the impurities off the top as they rise to the surface. Once the water comes to a boil, drain and discard the murky water. Cover the meat again with cold water and return to the heat. Slowly bring to a simmer, skimming any additional impurities off the surface.
In the meantime, prepare your mise en place.
To prepare your mise en place, first peel the onions and ginger. Cut the onions in half. Slightly char the onions and ginger over an open flame (or under the broiler) just to soften. Remove any large blackened bits. Dice the onions into about 1" -inch pieces. Cut the ginger into large slices.
Gather the bouquet garni (star anise, cloves, garlic, cinnamon sticks and peppercorns). Set aside.
Once the impurities have been skimmed from the surface of the broth, add the salt, mirepoix and bouquet garni. Continue to gently simmer until the meat is cooked through, at least 2 hours.
Once the broth has finished cooking, remove and discard the solids (the meat, however, can be reserved for other preparations). Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth.
Skim as much fat from the surface as possible. If desired, cool the broth over an ice bath and refrigerate. Remove any hardened fat before proceeding with the recipe.
Bring the desired amount of broth to a simmer (about 2 to 3 cups per person).** Taste the broth (reheat first if cold) and season to taste with the fish sauce and rock sugar. Adding fish sauce and rock sugar will help balance out the soup.
Depending on how much broth you are using you will need to adjust the fish sauce (nuoc mam) and rock sugar (duong phen) to taste.
To prepare the noodles, place them into a large bowl and cover with very hot water. Soak for about 30 minutes or just until soft.
In the meantime, prepare the rest of the garniture.
To prepare the garniture, peel and thinly slice the white onion into rounds. Thinly slice the green onions and chilies on a bias. Wash and spin-dry the bean sprouts, cilantro and basil. Set each aside. Cut the lemon into wedges. Place the Sriacha sauce and oyster sauce into small sauce dishes.
Remove the beef tenderloin from the refrigerator.
Drain the noodles and divide among each bowl. Add a few slices of white onion and some sliced green onions over top. Place about 3 ounces of sliced beef over top.
Pour the simmering broth directly over the beef. Serve immediately. The beef will immediately begin to cook from the heat of the hot broth.
Have each person squeeze lemon wedges into the broth to taste. Top with bean sprouts and cilantro. Season with the sliced green chilies, Sriacha sauce and oyster sauce to taste).