What Did You Cook Today? Part 2
The fun and photos continue from here http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/811917 to here! I'll get us started this time with last night's feast--new idea for me--beer-braised chicken with coarse-ground mustard mashed red potatoes. Damn, Abita's pecan harvest beer makes a FINE gravy! And how did I hit enter without the pic...brb! Meantime, what did YOU cook today?
Powered by a couple of tasty Martinis, I rummaged around our pantry and 'fridge to come up with what I'll call a Bread And Beef Casserole. Browned up some ground beef, adding condensed Golden Mushroom soup to the mix at the end. Mixed up some Jiffy Mix as the platform for the beef. Stabilized the Jiffy Mix in the oven for about 12 minutes, then added the beef and topped the invention with sharp Cheddar and Mozz. This is how it turned out. Tasty and filling!
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Ah, yer killin' me! Pho tai is my fave pho. I always go out for it, however--have never made it at home as I have it in my head it would be a pain-in-the-ass endeavor. If it's not, tell me where I can find your recipe, please! Or if it's in a place you can't mention here, please message me. My addy is in my profile. Many thank yous! :) Oh, and as a bonus, you can have my portion of the uni. HA HA!
Deal. I will keep that extra uni serving for myself!
Here's a cut and paste job from a little cookalong dealie I did over on G+ about a week ago. Made quite a few posts about the process, so I'll message those to you. :)
And now for the broth recipe...
PHO is basically prepared in three parts:
1) Preparation of the broth.
2) Preparation of the protein. (Which, depending on the type of pho, may also be partially handled in the first part.)
3) Preparation of the accompaniments and noodles.
The most time consuming part of the process is making a good broth. Traditionally, pho broth is made with roasted bone stock, which is simmered for hours before seasoning. But for this first Cookalong go around, I decided to take a happy medium approach between old school roasted bone stock and just using canned stock, by starting off with a quick chicken stock made of bone-in, skin-on chicken, (enhanced by a few of the rare beef steak trimmings) which still results in a flavorful and full-bodied stock to use as a base for the broth.
And don’t let anyone tell you it’s not “authentic” or that it’s “never” done this way. Of course it’s done this way by home cooks everywhere. We adapt to use what works or what’s available, and there is certainly nothing inauthentic about using chicken stock in Vietnamese cuisine. Hell, my mom makes it with pork bones if that’s what she’s got handy.
And because I wanted to take a slightly quicker approach, I chose to make pho tai, or rare beef pho, because it doesn’t involve the slow (and LONG) cooking process of using flank, tripe, or oxtail, all cuts of meat typically found in various styles of beef pho.
(Slightly Faster Than Your Average)
PHO BROTH RECIPE
This part of the process takes about 2 hours total, but most of it is just wait time - waiting while the stock is simmering, and waiting while the aromatics roast. But the good news is they can be done simultaneously. :)
- 16 cups cold water
- 2.5 to 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken (thighs or backs are good), rinsed
- 1 whole large white or yellow onion, UNpeeled, cut in half
- 1 whole head of garlic intact
- 1 4-inch segment of fresh ginger root
- 2 whole star anise
- 1 4-inch cinnamon stick
- ¼ cup fish sauce (I use Three Crabs or Tiparos)
- 1 Tablespoon sugar (plus more to adjust seasoning)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (plus more to adjust seasoning)
1) Put the chicken and 16 cups of water into a stock pot, uncovered on medium high heat and wait for the stock to come to a gentle boil. This should take 20 to 25 minutes. When the stock comes to a gentle boil, reduce the heat to low and let the stock simmer (you should see very little movement below the surface of the water) for 1 hour, uncovered.
2) While the stock is coming up to a boil, preheat your oven to 425F for at least 10 minutes, then place your onion, ginger, and garlic in a foil-lined oven safe dish, and roast for 40 minutes total. After 30 minutes, add in the star anise and cinnamon, and let them roast (or bloom) along with the other aromatics for 10 minutes. After the 40 minutes, remove all the aromatics from the oven and let them cool while you’re waiting for the stock to finish.
3) After the stock has simmered for 1 hour on low, remove the chicken from the stockpot, and pour the stock through a china cap or strainer into another large pot or mixing bowl (if you only have one pot that will fit all the liquid).I f the strainer is really porous, you might want to line it with a single layer of paper towel to get a cleaner broth. At this point, your 16 cups of water should have reduced to about 12 cups of stock.
4) Put the strained stock back into a clean stock pot and add all the roasted aromatics along with ¼ cup fish sauce, 1 Tablespoon sugar, and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. Bring the now seasoned broth to a gentle boil on medium high heat (this shouldn’t take too long - maybe 5 to 7 minutes tops), and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for another 20 minutes or so. This is when your whole house starts smelling like a deliciously inviting bowl of pho...
5) At this point, you can adjust the seasoning. Maybe a little more salt if needed, probably a little more sugar - the onions aren’t that sweet this time of year - and maybe a dash more fish sauce if you want a little more umami to the broth. Remember that while you don’t want the broth to be salty, you do want to compensate for the fact that the noodles and the meat will dilute the salt levels ever so slightly. BUT, you also want to keep in mind that if you add sriracha and/or Hoisin, you’ll ratchet the saltiness back up a bit.
And make sure when you taste the broth to adjust seasoning that it’s lukewarm. It’s hard to detect the levels of seasoning when the broth is really hot.
++1 (or is it +2?) Pho always seemed like it took so much work that every time I considered a recipe, I decided I was better to just go out to one of the many excellent pho places nearby. But this looks particularly manageable if I use the turkey stock I have in my freezer as a base and just add the roasted aromatics. I foresee making pho in the near future, just as soon as I can get to the Asian market (which should be very soon as I just ran out of sriracha...)