Monday, February 4, 2019

Instant Pot Pho

Hello my internet loves!

It has been quite a while since I had a new recipe for you. I'm not quite sure why I felt so demotivated to get a post up, I guess January was just a lazy month for me. Not to worry, though! I have been cooking up some yummy, cozy recipes and I am ready to start sharing!

Lets talk about this Instant Pot Pho, which is everything you've ever wanted to warm you up. This recipe is absolutely BURSTING with flavor and textures. It's the perfect contrast of slurpable noodles and chewy beef. A homemade - yes! homemade! - bone broth is the key to that traditional pho taste.

Pho is an incredibly classic Vietamese dish, with recipes that have been passed down for generations. While I am no pho expert, a few key elements to nearly any bowl of this delicious noodle soup include:

- Warm spices like cinnamon, star anise, and clove
- Super thinly sliced beef or chicken
- Tons of fresh chopped herbs, including mint, cilantro, basil and scallions
- Lots of lime juice to brighten it up
- Thai chili (spice up your life!)

The best thing about this particular pho recipe is that, thanks to our trusty Instant Pot, we will be wrapped up in a fuzzy blanket with a big bowl of warm soup in less than an hour. YES, I know! Let's get to it.

Here's what you need for Instant Pot Pho* (Print Recipe)

for the broth
1 cinnamon stick
2 pods star anise
6 whole cloves
1 teaspoon whole fennel seed
1 2-ounce chunk fresh ginger, smashed (basically just whack it with your knife, no need to chop or peel or break it apart)
1 onion, cut into wedges
1/2 fuji apple. cut into wedges
1 pound chicken wings
3 pounds beef soup bones, shanks, and oxtails (whatever mixture you can get your hands on)
lots of salt
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon palm sugar

for serving
1 12-15 ounce package thin rice noodles, cooked according to package directions
8 ounces sirloin steak (eye of round or london broil would also be OK), thinly sliced* (see note)
3 scallions, sliced thin
2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 fresh basil, chiffonade
1/4 fresh mint, chopped
1 cup bean sprouts
2 thai bird chilis or 1 jalapeno, sliced thin
a few radishes, sliced very thin
2 limes, cut into wedges

Here's what you do

for the broth
Turn the Instant Pot to saute mode and dry toast the spices until fragrant, about 2 minutes stirring occasionally. Press 'cancel' then add to the bowl the ginger, apple, onion, bones, wings, salt and about 10 cups of water (be sure not to fill beyond the pressure cooker max line - you can cut down the water to accommodate this). Put the lid on the pot and set the vent to sealing. Cook on high pressure for 30 minutes, then natural release for 10 minutes before carefully releasing the rest of the pressure via quick release. You will likely get some liquid sputtering out the vent, so I will usually wear an oven mitt and use a wooden spoon to move to venting position.

Carefully remove the lid then fish out all the spices, bones, vegetables, etc. If there is some meat on your beef bones, shred it up and serve with the soup. I toss the chicken wings as they tend to be rubbery and overcooked. Stir in the fish sauce and palm sugar.

to serve
Pile a bunch of the prepared noodles into big soup bowls, add a few slices of the raw thinly sliced beef plus some extra beef from the Instant Pot, and ladle a whole bunch of broth over the top. Allow everyone to top their bowls with their desired amount of  scallions, fresh herbs, bean sprouts, chilis, radishes, and lime.

Note: To slice the beef as thinly as possible, freeze it for about 20 minutes before cutting and use a sharp knife. If you are uncomfortable with eating the beef raw (though, if you slice it thin enough, the hot broth should cook the beef a bit), you can sear it in a very hot pan for a few minutes on each side before slicing as thin as you can.

*Recipe from Alton Brown's Everyday Cook, with slight modification

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