Watch how to make slow cooker beef noodle soup (Pho)

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I was first introduced to pho, Vietnamese beef noodle soup, from a former housemate who would bring back frozen blocks of her Mom's homemade beef broth after weekend visits. She was kind enough to share with everybody in the house. Mama Mai's flavorful and rich broth was dotted with chunks of tender beef that simmered for hours to flavor the broth. We heated the frozen broth on the stove until it was hot. Then each housemate would build our own customized bowl of pho with rice noodles, fresh herbs, bean sprouts, lime juice, Sriracha and hoisin sauce.
Ever since I moved out, I still find myself craving pho, particularly on a cold, rainy day, when I don't feel like leaving the comforts of my house. Pho is traditionally simmered for hours over the stove with careful monitoring. This recipe uses the convenience of a slow cooker to impart the same flavors of pho to build the broth. Toasting the spices and browning the onion and ginger are key to developing the flavors of the broth. If you are new to pho, play around with the amounts of garnishes to find a combination you prefer.
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Slow cooker beef noodle soup (Pho)
Cooktop Cove
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 8 hours 20 minutes
Serves: 4
Ingredients
3 lbs oxtail
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
4 ounces ginger, peeled and cut into 1-inch coins
2 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons whole coriander
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
4 cloves
4 cups beef broth
4 cups water
3 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 14-16 ounce package rice stick noodles
1/2 bunch cilantro
4-6 sprigs fresh mint
1 lime, quartered
1 cup mung bean sprouts
Sriracha (to taste)
Hoisin sauce (to taste)
Directions
1. Preheat the oven to broil. Adjust the rack to be on the highest position in the oven.
2. Rinse the oxtail under cold water.
3. In a dry pan, toast cloves, star anise, fennel, coriander and cinamon over low heat until fragrant and toasted, about 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. Place the onions and ginger on a foil-lined sheet pan, and broil in the oven until browned and blackened in spots on both sides, about 8-10 minutes per side.
5. Add rinsed oxtail, toasted spices, broiled onion and ginger to a 6-quart slow cooker. Cover with beef broth and water. Place the lid and cook on high for 4 hours or low 8 hours.
6. Using a slotted spoon scoop out the meat. Shred the meat using a knife and fork. Discard the bones.
7. Strain broth through a fine mesh strainer into a pot over low heat or add broth back to the slow cooker set to warm. Stir in the sugar, fish sauce and salt.
6. Prepare noodles according to the package.
7. Divide the cooked noodles among 4 serving bowls and top with the broth. Garnish with fresh cilantro, mint, lime, bean sprouts, Sriracha and hoisin to taste.
Pro tip: Pre-boiling the oxtails before adding them to the slow cooker will help create a clearer broth and give you less scum to strain off at the end.
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