The first time I tried ph’o, I knew I’d found something special. It’s possibly my favorite soup of all time (ha! I say that about a lot of soups. I just. Love. Soup!). Anyway – it’s been almost three years without it, and I knew it was time to give it a try. I had some flat iron steaks, and I realized ph’o would be the perfect use of the steak. Jim, who pretty much believes meat should be used as – well, meat – was skeptical. However, I’m happy to say he’s a convert.
The recipe uses fish sauce – and Red Boat fish sauce is both Whole30 approved and paleo. The recipe serves 4 to 6.
Paleo, Whole30 Ph’o
- Grass-fed beef bones
- 1 or two onions, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic bulbs, split lengthwise (tops cut off, but use both the top and the bottom)
- 3-inch knob of ginger, sliced
- 1 carrot, roughly chopped
- 2 or 3 thai chilies, split lengthwise (it’s up to you – they’re pretty spicy and they add a good bit of heat for how tiny they are. You can remove the seeds to minimize the heat a bit or leave them out altogether)
- 6 star anise pods (or about a teaspoon of Chinese 5 spice – or to taste)
- 2 tablespoons Red Boat fish sauce (or to taste)
- 12 peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
- 1 to 2 pounds sirloin steak or flat-iron steak, very thinly sliced against the grain
- 4 to 6 zucchini, spiralized into noodles using the angel hair blade
- 1 bunch cilantro, chopped (or Thai basil)
- Finely chopped thai chilies
- Green onions, thinly sliced
- Lime wedges
- Bean sprouts
- In an 8-quart slow cooker, cover the beef bones, halved onion, garlic bulbs, ginger, thai chiles, and star anise pods with cold water. Add the fish sauce, peppercorns, and salt. Cover and cook on low for 12 to 24 hours. Strain into a large pot and discard the solids. Taste and add fish sauce, salt, or Chinese 5 spice as desired to adjust the flavor to your taste.
- Bring the broth to a boil. Add the beef and cook for one minute. Add the noodles and cook one minute more.
- Serve garnished with cilantro, chopped thai chilies, sliced green onions, lime wedges, and bean sprouts.
Next time, I’m adding sauteed shiitakes. Just because.
For faster ph’o, you can simmer your beef bone broth on the stovetop for about four hours.