While we were in Amsterdam last summer Tom and I had our first experience with Vietnamese cuisine. I ordered some curry dish, but Tom ordered Pho. It was pretty Ph0-king good I have to say. When we returned from our trip the first thing I did was research Pho recipes to recreate it at home. I learned that true pho broth is a made from simmering beef bones with onions and ginger to make a deep, rich, savory broth.
“PERFECT!”, I said to myself. What a great way to use up some venison bones in the fall. After Tom and I processed our deer I made 5 gallons of venison stock which is the base of what makes up this recipe. I used this recipe to make the stock. I will do a future post on my rendition when I have more venison bones.
For the noodles and “Pho” spice flavor pack I went to a specialty Asian grocery store. I used eye of the round, which is a prefered cut for Pho, but flank steak or backstrap will work as well. Lastly, the Thai red peppers I used to add heat were grown in our garden this summer. I put them in the dehydrator, then used a spice mill to make my own crushed red pepper. If you can’t find thai chillies jalapenos will do the trick.
For the Broth
- 6 cups Venison Stock
- 4-inch piece Fresh Ginger
- 1 packet Pho Hoa Soup Spices
- 1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
- 4 cloves Garlic Cloves
- 4-6 Dried Thai Chili Peppers
- 1/2 lbs Venison Eye of Round
- 8 oz Rice Noodles
- 2-4 Scallions
- 1/2 Lime
- 1 can Bean Sprouts
- 1 cup Fresh Basil
- 1 cup Fresh Cilantro
- 6oz Shitaki Mushrooms
- In heavy pot add the broth and all the broth ingredients listed. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer for an hour.
- Use your sharpest knife to slice the venison into very thin slices. Slice across the grain, and aim for slices no thicker than 1/4-inch. Once sliced, keep covered and refrigerated until ready to serve.
- In a separate pot bring water to a boil, drop in the rice noodles and cook according to package instructions (typically 1 minute for very thin noodles and up to 4 minutes for wider noodles). Strain the noodles and run them under cool water to stop cooking. The noodles will start to stick together after cooking, so either divide them immediately between serving bowls or toss them with a little neutral-tasting oil to prevent sticking.
- Prepare the rest of the pho toppings. Stice the mushrooms thin as possible, also slice the scallions and cut the lime into wedges. Place the bean sprouts in a serving dish. Roughly chop the herbs or tear them with your hands. Arrange all the toppings on the table.
- When the broth is ready, strain the solids and flavor packet from the broth. Discard. Place the broth back over low heat and keep it just below a simmer — you should see a fair amount of steam, but should not be boiling. The broth needs hot to cook the venison.
- Prepare the pho bowls by placing the rice noodles and top with a few slices of raw venison. Arrange the meat in a single layer so that the slices will cook evenly in the broth (slices that are stacked or clumped may not cook all the way through).
- Ladle the steaming broth into each bowl, pouring it evenly over the venison in order to cook it. The meat should immediately start to turn opaque.
- Serve the pho at the table and let each person top off their bowl as they like. Enjoy!