Does your desire to travel flavor your home kitchen? Ours does! Dishes from where we’ve been, and where we’d like to go are prevalent on our family meal calendar.
True and tried – just like their parents – the mini Vikings adore Vietnamese food! Could this be due to my UNREQUITED pregnancy cravings for Vietnamese food during all four pregnancies? I think so! Vietnamese restaurants don’t abound in Stockholm, nor are the existing ones as scrumptious as those found in my native Florida. Gorging on Vietnamese food while stateside is easily a favorite Burud family pastime! So much so – a tasting adventure in Vietnam is on our bucket list of family trips!
Back in Stockholm – I came up with a slow cooker version of our favorite noodle soup – to hold us over until our next hop across the pond. Our version uses familiar Vietnamese flavors.
The mini Vikings – like most kids – love building their own meal from the garnish platter. I cook and keep the rice noodles separately as well. Both the noodles and the soup fare better – which also works well if you have left overs.
Using the slow cooker turned out a surprisingly rich soup – while satisfying my need for some “slow cooker days” to fit family meals between various after school activities.
Recipe follows below.
This slow cooker version of Beef Pho has the fragrant spices of the traditional version – and gets its rich taste from caramelizing the onions and garlic prior to adding them to the soup. Rice noodles are quick to cook. Both the soup and noodles fare better when you cook and keep them separately. I place a bowl of noodles, a platter of garnishes and the pot of soup on the table; allowing each person to create their own, ideal version of Beef Pho!
- 2 onions, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp. canola oil
- 8 cups (1,6 l) homemade beef broth
- 1 cup (2 dl) water
- ¼ cup fish sauce
- 2 tbsp. soy sauce
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 1 stalk lemon grass (bottom half), bruised
- 2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and bruised
- 4-5 whole star anise pods
- 4-5 whole cloves
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 2 lbs. beef chuck, rump or brisket, trimmed
- Salt and pepper
- 1 lb. (500 g) medium thick rice noodles
- ¼ lb. (250 g) fresh bean sprouts
- 1 cup fresh Thai basil leaves
- 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 2-3 scallions, thinly sliced
- 2-3 fresh chilies, thinly sliced
- 2-3 limes, cut in wedges
- ½ cup (1/4 dl) crushed cashews
- Heat the canola oil in a medium-large sized skillet, and sauté the onions and garlic for about 4-5 minutes over medium-high heat – taking care not to burn. Transfer to slow cooker.
- Add the beef broth, water, fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, lemon grass, and ginger to the slow cooker; stirring to blend.
- Secure the star anise, cloves and cinnamon in a cheese cloth, and add to the slow cooker.
- Salt and pepper the beef. Add it to the slow cooker, and cover.
- Cook on low for 9-10 hours (alt high 5-7 hours), until beef is tender and easily shreds with a fork.
- Remove beef and allow to cool.
- Remove lemon grass, ginger and the cheese cloth parcel, and throw away.
- Skim visible fat from soup.
- Shred or chop the beef, and add it back into the broth.
- Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package. Rinse with cold water, and reserve.
- Place bean sprouts, fresh herbs, scallions, lime wedges and chilies on a platter.
- Put noodles in the bottom of each bowl. Ladle over the warm broth and meat. Allow everyone to help themselves to the garnishes.