Over the past five or so years, pho has gone from an often mispronounced soup only found in cities with a high concentration of Vietnamese citizens to a culinary obsession. I credit the Food Networkification of the Travel Channel and Middle America’s discovery of Anthony Bourdain, one of the most forceful benefactors and advocates for the heavily spiced beef noodle soup. Pho is amazingly delicious and while hailing from a region with incredible heat, it is really the perfect winter meal. A favorite sight of mine is driving down Broadway and seeing Pho Xe Tang’s windows completely fogged up. That is living right there folks. Steam and slurping everywhere.
I am not claiming to be early to the party when it comes to pho, nearly the opposite. Pho took hold of me less than a decade ago when I lived not far from Argyle Street in Uptown, but the love is undeniable, especially after making my own. The process is so easy in fact that I usually keep quarts of pho stock in my freezer and use them to braise beef shanks or chuck if I am looking for something more substantial than soup. The last few times I used it as a braising medium, I had to resist turning the leftovers into rillettes. After making another batch of pho stock and having turn out extra gelatinous, I broke down and combined Pho and charcuterie. Continue reading