Wednesdays in January are made better with this Quick Kale and Mushroom Pho.
I’m not sure about you guys, but January leaves me craving two things…steaming hot food (like really hot), and plenty of color. January is without a doubt one of the coldest and most colorless months of the year. While all the white snow on the mountains is beautiful, and the crisp winter air can be refreshing, it still leaves me craving bright colors. And warm food, but that’s kind of an obvious craving in the middle of a snowy winter.
If you look back through the archives of previous January content on HBH, you will see a lot of color. I kind of love that these white winter days inspire me to cook with all the (colorful) winter produce.
Today I’m sharing one of my most favorite recipes I’ve ever created. Up until a couple of weeks ago, I was a Pho “newbie”. Meaning, I hadn’t ever had a real bowl of traditional Vietnamese Pho. Sure, I’ve had similar soups, but nothing that even compared to the slow cooked, traditional beef pho.
That is until last week, when I first made Pho and became obsessed.
Whenever my family is in town, I love making new dishes that are fun and different. My cousin, Maggie had mentioned that she loves Pho and orders it all the time back in Ohio. As soon as she mentioned Pho, I knew it would be the perfect soup to make while everyone was in town during the time between Christmas and New Years.
Of course, I had never made Pho before, so I didn’t realize you needed to simmer beef bones for hours, even days, just to make the broth. Ahh yeah….as much as I love a good project, I wasn’t about to go and find myself a bunch of beef bones to simmer on the stove for hours and hours…and hours.
I mean, I’m sure the homemade stuff is great, but you know what?
They make pretty delicious store-bought beef bone broth (this is my favorite brand). Sometimes shortcuts are needed, and in the case of homemade Pho, store-bought beef bone broth is the way to go. Some might argue this, but the bottom line is that life is busy and shortcuts are often necessary.
PS. I think I’m making that line my motto for 2018. Anyone with me?
Anyway, point is. I found a way to make quick, easy, delicious, hearty and healthy homemade Pho in under an hour, and it’s about to make your January.
The secret is toasting your spices and infusing your broth, this is KEY to making an extra flavorful Pho broth. The longer the broth simmers the better, but I found that even after just twenty minutes of cooking the broth tasted delicious.
The other key to making good pho? Having your broth piping hot. The hot pho broth is what cooks the thinly sliced beef. If you’re new to Pho this might sound odd, and yes, I was a little nervous as I ladled my hot broth over my raw beef slices, but as the beef sits in the hot broth it quickly cooks, leaving you with perfectly tender meat.
To bulk up the nutritional value, I added generous amounts of ginger, spice, kale, and mushrooms. If you’re feeling a cold coming on, or just need a good cleansing soup, this is your recipe.
Also, if you wanted to make this vegetarian you could swap the beef broth for veggie broth, double the mushrooms, and omit the steak.
Quick Cleansing Kale and Mushroom Pho.
Servings: 4 servings
Calories Per Serving: 332 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 1 onion, quartered
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 (2-3 inch) piece ginger, sliced in half
- 2 star anise
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 5 whole cloves
- 8 cups beef bone broth (or beef stock)
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon chili paste
- 1 bunch Tuscan kale, roughly torn
- kosher salt and pepper
- 4-8 ounces rice noodles
- 1/2 pound sirloin steak or London broil, sliced thinly (no more than 1/4 inch thick)
- bean sprouts, mint, basil, chile peppers, green onions, carrots, and limes, for serving
- 1. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Cook until the mushrooms are golden brown, about 4-5 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and set aside. 2. To the same pot, add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook 3 minutes. Stir in the star anise, cinnamon, and cloves. Toast, stirring occasionally until the spices are fragrant, about 2-3 more minutes. Add the bone broth, fish sauce, and chili paste. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove the onion, garlic, and spices from the broth, and discard. 2. Bring the broth to a boil. Add the kale and stir in the mushrooms. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer 10 minutes or until ready to serve 3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the rice noodles according to package directions. 4. Divide the noodles between bowls and top with thinly sliced steak. Ladle the hot broth over the steak, submerging the steak and noodles in the hot broth. Top as desired with sprouts, chilies, herbs, limes, onions, and carrots. Enjoy!
*To make vegetarian you can swap the beef broth for vegetable broth, the fish sauce for soy sauce, double the mushrooms, and omit the steak. To add protein, try pan-fried tofu.
The coziest bowl of winter soup. YUM.
PS. even my picky brothers LOVED this. They also said it cleared the sinuses. Cool. Cool.