pho sure

Some nights, I don’t want to wear an apron.  Or pull my hair back in a fire-proof ‘do.  Or risk smearing my mascara with tears as I chop a pile of onions.

Some nights, I just want to be served.  On those evenings, I prefer a restaurant that I can patronize while wearing jeans, a t-shirt, and flip-flops.  And maybe a baseball cap that says “Bubba Gump Shrimp Co” with a smiling shrimp in a top hat on it.  On those lazy-bones nights, there’s no better place to eat well and relax than our local pho restaurant.

If you aren’t familiar, pho is a Vietnamese soup that has long rice noodles, a flavorful broth, a protein of some sort, and lots of scallions, cilantro, and bean sprouts for added flavor and crunch.  I adore pho and would hold it up against any plain ol’ chicken noodle soup as THE most comforting and satisfying soup ever.

So, when I found a recipe for pho in my Food Network Magazine’s cookbook, Great Easy Meals, I knew I had to try it, even though it would require an apron, scrunchie, and waterproof mascara.

You start by searing the steak at a high heat in a big pot (I used my Dutch oven).  Take it out and replace it with a halved onion and unpeeled ginger.  Beef broth, water, star anise, and cinnamon follow, with fish sauce making an appearance at the very end.  All the while, you’re boiling water for your rice noodles, which take a short 4 minutes to cook completely.

After removing the spices and the ginger, and chopping the now-soft onion, pour the spicy, yummy broth over your rice noodles, topping it with the steak, cilantro, scallions, bean sprouts, and chopped onion.  Spend a moment taking in your beautiful dinner, and then dig in (a bib is optional but certainly recommended–those noodles are slippery!).

Nate and I have been eating pho for many years, and we both agreed that this is nearly as good as the stuff we get at our favorite Vietnamese restaurant.  The flavors are really spot-on and it’s healthy–just 345 calories a serving!  You can’t beat that!


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