We are three sisters united in our search for the divine - in food, libation, literature, art, and nature. This blog will capture the true, sometimes decadent, at times humorous, and every so often transcendent adventures of the Salvation Sisters.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Nutritious Bone Broths and Linda's Pho Bo ~ Vietnamese Beef Broth with Kelp Noodles

By Linda

"For to us, pho is life, love and all things that matter. We treasure pho, and most of us have loved it since the day we were old enough to hold a pair of chopsticks."~ Mai Pham

"Indeed, stock is everything in cooking... without it nothing can be done."~ Auguste Escoffier

   For years I worked in a restaurant kitchen in which we made a very large quantity of bone broth (stock) once per week. It was the base for many of our soups and sauces. Every week, we would roast a huge pan of veal bones for hours in the oven until very brown. After that, we would boil them for many more hours until a deep brown and fragrant stock was made. When eating out, I can almost always tell if a restaurant is making its own stock. Homemade stock lends the most incredible and complex flavors that simply cannot be achieved in any other way.

   Bone broths and stocks have long traditions of being made and consumed in many cultures. Beef, lamb, venison, poultry and fish and shellfish are all used. All foodies understand that these rich broths are necessary to make great tasting food. The piece of knowledge that has been lost for the most part in modern times is that these same broths provide some of the most nutritious food available to us. In our very busy lives these days, few have time to roast bones for hours and then boil them. Sally Fallon writes in one of my favorite food/cookbooks entitled "Nourishing Traditions" which is based on the research of Dr. Weston A. Price, a dentist who traveled the world studying isolated human groups and their traditional diets. Fallon writes, "Properly prepared, meat stocks are extremely nutritious, containing the minerals of bone, cartilage, marrow and vegetables as electrolytes, a form that is easy to assimilate... The public is generally unaware of the large amount of research on the beneficial effects of gelatin taken with food. Gelatin acts first and foremost as an aid to digestion and has been used successfully in the treatment of many intestinal disorders."
   I truly believe that it is well worth your time to make your own bone broth/stocks and then freeze them in pint or quart sized containers which can be used in place of commercially made stocks of dubious origin, and devoid of essential nutrients and flavor.

   Linda's Pho Bo ~ Vietnamese Beef Broth with Kelp Noodles

   This past weekend, I knew that I would be at home all day, thus presenting the perfect opportunity to make stock (bone broth). I have grown to love pho (pronounced "fuh"), a bone broth that comes from Vietnam. I purchased natural/hormone free oxtails (called oxtails but coming from cows) because they make the best soup, and I roasted them for an hour with onion and ginger before boiling them for several more hours in water with the vegetables and spices. This recipe makes enough for four large bowls of soup with some broth left to freeze.
Ingredients for the broth:
2 lbs oxtail bones (these make a very rich broth and have quite a bit of meat on them plus the marrow)
1 large yellow onion
4 inches of fresh ginger
3 quarts of filtered water
6 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp fennel seed
6 cloves
1/4 cup fish sauce

   Put the oxtails with a large onion that has been quartered and the ginger which has been cut in half in a roasing pan. Roast for an hour at 350°F until the bones are browned and the onion is slightly charred. Add the bones, onion and ginger to a stockpot with the spices and simmer for 3-4 hours. Keep the pot covered. When the meat is tender and falling off the bones, remove the bones and strain the steaming broth through a mesh sieve. Pick out any meat from the strained vegetables and spices and added it back to the broth. Discard the remainder. Then pick the meat from the bones and add it back to the broth. The pho is now ready for the finishing touches.

noodles of your choice (since I am cutting refined carbs, I used kelp noodles)
fresh basil
chopped scallions
bean sprouts
greens such as spinach or chopped kale
lime wedges
sliced or minced chiles (choose the heat factor that you like)
soy sauce
chile sauce such as Sriracha

Place noodles in the bowl along with the greens. Pour over the very hot broth including some of the chunks of meat. Add bean sprouts, scallions, basil, chiles and cilantro (not a personal favorite of mine) as desired. Finish by squeezing on lime juice. Add soy sauce and Sriracha to taste.

1 comment:

  1. I absolutely adore oxtails!! We ate them a lot when I was younger as they were one of the cheapest thing to eat. (sort of like "squid" used to be) Now it is designer meat but luckily, really a good value here in Mx. I made a rich wine oxtail stew not long ago. I need to try this recipe as every time I pick up a book, Pho is talked about!


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