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Jan 15, 2013 04:38 PM

Any help with Pho stock?

Hi everybody.

Does anyone have a recipe for a really, really god stock for Pho?
I swa Rick Stein praising this Vietnamese soup on his series "Rick Stein's Eastern Odyssey". He tells how important the stock is for the dish, and then mentions that the best stocks are from Bangkok where they are simmered for 24 hours.

I've searched around a bit, and even though there are a few decent recipes around, a depressingly big number of them start with the sentence "Empty the content of the bag in a large pot.."

That's not what I'm after. I want to make one of the really, really good ones so I can impress my Vietnamese friends (foreign students that are clueless in the kitchen).
There must be some good recipes available somewhere. This soup is close to religion in it's homeland.

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  1. These two recipes are almost the same, only Kenji has 5# of oxtail and beef shank, where Andrea has 5-6# of beef bones. The choice is yours: the cost of each is different, and if you do all oxtail and beef shank, you will have quite a bit of meat left over. Kenji has coriander and fennel in his recipe, which I would leave out.

    5 Replies
    1. re: jaykayen

      Thanks. Both looks a lot more promising than the ones I have found previously.
      None of them calls for a 24 hour simmer, though...

      To be a near-religious affair in it's homeland, there is surprisingly little material on pho on the internet. No dedicated homepages, long discussion threads and no quarreling over ingredients and no fighting over the best process for making the stock.
      Then again, maybe they do exist in Vietnamese.

      Oh, by the way: I meant Hannoi, of course, not Bangkok.

      1. re: Grunde

        Extraction is a time vs heat thing. The hotter it is, the less time. If you are actually simmering, 24 hrs is just going to waste energy, you won't get anymore out of your bones.

        1. re: jaykayen

          Sure, but eco friendliness isn't my main concern when I'm trying to find the perfect stock. And usually when i slow cook stuff I just pop it in the oven, which is well isolated, so I actually think I use less energy vs. stove top cooking.

          Anyway, there must be a reason why they cook it for 24 hours. Heat vs. time is one thing. Heat vs. time vs. taste is a whole different story.

          1. re: Grunde

            They simmer for 24 hours because they are making HUGE quantities, not just 5lbs of bones like the home cook. The vietworldkitchen recipe make a lovely stock that I prefer to both of my local Pho kitchens.

            1. re: smtucker

              Cool, I'll try that one then, and just apply every trick I've ever known about stock making.
              I's sure like to visit one of them stock factories. Why can't they show that on "How it's Made".

    2. Making good pho stock is like rearing a child.

      It doesn't happen overnight, you need to nurture it and slowly cultivate the stock over many many hours and sometimes days. Slowly add soup bones to your pot, and just let it simmer away.