Sunday, April 01, 2007

Making Pho Part One

So our next girls' cooking night theme is Vietnamese. I love pho, but have never made it at home, so it was worth a try...

I started with about 4 1/2 pounds of beef neck and rib bones, some onions, ginger, star anise and cinnamon. The recipe I found said to leave the skins on the onion and ginger. Some recipes called for parboiling the bones and charring the onions on the stovetop first, but after my jalapeno smoke-out incident, I opted instead to follow the recipe that called for both meat and onions to go into the oven first for 40 minutes.

My favorite pho addition is tendon, but I've never prepared it not even seen my mom prepare it. She'd cook tripe from time to time, but never tendon. So it's a total shot in the dark -- first off I wasn't sure if I should cut the tendon up into cubes first, then boil it, or boil it whole, then cut it up. I opted for boiling whole, removing it when I removed the onion etc., then cutting up then boiling longer in the broth. I figured it'd be easier than trying to scoop out and save chunks of tendon from among the onion and ginger...

So 40 minutes in the oven, and my partly roasted beef already smelled really good. I added enough water to cover, threw in my tendon, and brought the whole thing to a boil. And then started skimming the scum from the broth -- I don't know why, but this is always my favorite part of making soup. I used to always beg my mom to let me do it when I was a kid.

Thirty minutes into cooking though, and my tendon has tightened up into an almost bone-hard white mass... hmmm... Having no idea what's supposed to happen, I can only hope that a few more hours will soften it up to its wonderful translucent gelatinous goodness. The pot's on to simmer for 3 hours -- we'll see what happens...

Thankfully 3 1/2 hours later, and the tendon has miraculously softened up! I chopped the tendon and ran the broth through a fine strainer and then into the fridge until girls night!

1 comment:

Corrie said...

It occurs to me that my previous comment didn't give you any way of responding to me. Here is my e-mail address:
flatheadfarmergirl@gmail.com

Thanks!