Pho My Life…
It was crazy this weekend. With everything that was going on. And to drive through something like this coming home. It just put things over the top – the weather…made me think about LIFE… You know. Pensive. Like, g*damn, it’s SNOWING!…I could really go for some PHO right now! (That’s vietnamese beef noodle soup) Yeah, that’s what I thought when I saw this:
Perfect weather for pho.
I know when it comes to eating, there’s something called Nostalgia and you think your mom’s pho she leaves on the stove and skims once is the best in the universe, that’s fine. I think Kraft Macaroni and cheese is the best invention since fi-AH :). It’s why I appreciate Ferran Adrià. The ability to take us back in time. I have no clue what i’m writing, but I know I grew up loving pho, even the bad ones, so Tuesday night, I got home and pulled some Beef bones out of my pocket! (bought the bones from 99 ranch), rinsed them for 15 minutes in cold water to get some of the blood out and roasted them in the oven for 30 minutes at 425F, till they got a nice color. From 12AM – 2AM I skimmed the scum/foam after bringing to a boil then gently simmering a 4 gallon stockpot. Went to sleep.
Woke up at 6am to skim. I thought to myself, this is a lot of work, to do Pho right. I mean sure, we could be like 75% of the restaurants and use some Bouillon cubes, but I wanted a nice, rounded, balanced, and deeericious stock. So mid-morning I set out to get 2 pounds of beef ribs then had 5 people for dinner so I got 6.5 pounds 🙂 The beef ribs at Whole Foods looked so meaty and delicious, how could I resist? I trimmed some fat off the two racks including membrane and cut 160g or .35pounds of fat just off the back of the racks. There is more meat on these ribs than Marconda’s @ the Grove which were previously my favorite beef ribs for Dinosaur BBQ Style!
Beef ribs are an underused meat, but not here!
Here, I’m searing and Sealing the meat with Canola and Garlic to put some flavor and make the braise nice and also make the best pho stock in the universe: Clockwise starting top left: 4gallon stockpot w/ (beef bones, veal shank, burnt onion, star anise, coriander, beef bones, cinnamon stix, peppercorn, short stick of lemongrass, cloves, fish sauce, burnt ginger), oxtail, beef ribs
(6 hours later)…while cooking, opened some white wines – One Sauvignon Blanc/Chenin Blanc/Riesling blend & one Sauvignon Blanc (Picayune) & started with some Yellowtail Loin for Sashimi. Why not. (I like the outline of the fish pieces on the cutting board) #random
Skimming fat off the top
There was a nice amount of marrow inside and tendon on the sides of the beef bone. Most people would throw this away, but tendons are good for you and…delicious! Here…crisping some Tendons
In an asian way, putting it together with cilantro jalapeno, garlic, fish sauce, salt, pepper. (This lasted less than a minute). For Italian way, we will bread it and fry it. 🙂 YUM from something that might have been thrown away.
All the essentials: some cilantro, jalapeno, hoisin, chili garlic, sriracha, thai basil, green onion, bean sprouts. The X factor here was the Chinon, which tasted good on its own but didn’t go well as it super-enhanced the spiciness levels. Asian food for me is very hard to pair. You not only have a meaty component but for South East asian you have lemongrass, lime, hoisin, anchovy, and 3 sources of heat (jalapeno, sriracha, chili sauce). We also opened a Torbreck Juveniles. Vodka went well. If you can bring a GREAT pairing I’ll make you a massive bowl of pho.
The original meats for the pho were: shank, bones, beef ribs. But since the pho already had some really nice components, at the last minute I decided what the hell. Get Prime. Wagyu. Here, I’m trying the Wagyu Short Rib Carpaccio w/ some Maldon Smoked salt, green onion, drop of olive oil.
Broth was an 18 hour project that started with beef bones and with the oxtails, shanks, and beef ribs the broth was complete. Then, I passed it through the China Cap and a fine-mesh strainer 6 times to get a nice broth with the fewest impurities. The beef ribs were super tender and the oxtails were falling apart. Just how I like it when I shovel pho down my gullet 😀
Meats Above for the Ultimate Pho starting at 6:30 and going clockwise
- Top Sirloin (sliced medium thin, pounded and served in small 1.5″ x 2″ slices
- Aged Bison New York Steak (sliced thin)
- Braised Oxtails
- Veal shanks (and bone marrow)
- Prime Ribeye
- Wagyu Chuck Roll
- Organic Beef Ribs
- Wagyu Short Rib