Pho + Bone Broth

Pho + Bone Broth

Bone broth has become exceedingly popular, especially with the Paleo and high-protein dieters, likely because there are an increasing number of studies that claim it’s full of nutrients, minerals, and collagen. But, in addition to the health benefits broths are packed with flavor. This recipe was designed to capitalize on both—it gets a gold star for nutritional excellence and is a spectacularly tasty dish to boot.

Making a proper broth takes some time, most of which is spent waiting for the slow simmering bones to give up every last bit of flavor. But cooking a big batch at a time makes it especially worth the wait. And, as is true with any other cooking technique, cook time is relative to the size and thickness of the bone. For instance, a beef knuckle is a fairly large roundish bone that has quite a bit of surface area, and very little marrow exposed. These bones are wonderful for broth but will take a long time to finish. Chicken broth, on the other hand, can be made in a third of the time as a proper beef broth, and pork will fall somewhere between the two.

This bone broth recipe can be enjoyed as is, but I highly recommend using ingredient for a Pho soup—an iconic Vietnamese dish that is known for the extremely flavorful, light, and clear broth. The broth is accompanied by rice noodles, fresh herbs, and jalapenos. The flavorful, aromatic broth is complex, but not terribly difficult to make.


The Broth

3-4 lbs of beef bones

2 yellow onions, charred and quartered

1 4 inch piece of ginger, peeled and charred

3 star anise pods

1 cinnamon stick

1 jalapeno, charred and halved

1 t coriander seed, whole

1 t allspice berries

Sea salt and fish sauce to taste


The Bones

To roast the bones, preheat the oven to 425, and place the bones on a sheet tray. Roast the bones until they are a deep brown color, about 25-35 minutes. After roasting, place the bones in a large stock pot and cover with cold water. (This step gives the broth a deeper color and another layer of flavor.)

To blanch the bones, place them in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring the water to boil and then immediately remove from the heat. Drain the water and rinse the bones. Clean the pot and return to the stove top and place the bones back into the pot. Blanching the bones will give you a more transparent broth and a cleaner flavor. Cover with cold water and continue to step two. (This process gives you a more transparent broth and a cleaner flavor.)

The Seasoning

The ginger, onion and jalapeno will need to be charred or burned. This can be done with an open flame or under the broiler in the oven.  The char will bring out an all new flavor in the ingredients as well as add to the color of the broth. The aromatics do not have to be charred all over, but they do need a good amount of black covering the surface area. Once they are charred, they can be added to the stock pot with the bones and water.

In a skillet on the stove, add all of the dry spices, the cinnamon, anise, allspice, and coriander, and toast them in the pan until they become very fragrant. Remove from the heat and add them to the stock pot with the bones and water.

The Simmer

Bring the pot of bones and water to a boil, briefly, then cut the heat back to low, allowing for the slightest amount of bubbling in the liquid to take place. Harsh boiling can emulsify the fat into the stock or broth, clouding the liquid. The broth will need to simmer for about 18 hours. This will pull all of the great nutrients from the bones, and all of the flavor from the aromatics.

Once the broth has finished simmering, season with the salt and fish sauce to taste.

Serve the broth on its own as a drink, or in a rice noodle bowl garnished with fresh jalapeno, bean sprouts, fresh basil and cilantro, and lime wedges. Add a thinly sliced steak if you’re craving a little extra protein.


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