first things first. i’m going to teach you the cheaters version of making a delicious rich beef broth. you get to skip having to find strange beef parts- like cow shins, leg bones and oxtail. i buy store bought beef broth and “enhance” it with bone-in beef shanks. by slowing cooking the beef shanks in a mixture of lemon grass and beef broth, you get a super rich gelatinous broth. (and in this case- gelatinous is totally a good thing.) this becomes the base for this stew.
spoiler alert. this is a total play on vietnamese pho. more emphasis on the lemon grass and scented with star anise and all-spice. serve it up with the tender beef, carrots and rice noodles and you’ve got yourself some major comfort food.
before you get started- this is definitely a weekend meal and is best prepped the night before. i like to place the beef in the slow cooker before i go to bed. everything goes in the fridge in the morning so that i can easily remove the fat solids right before dinner. (fat is good, but just not THAT much fat). oh and if you can get your hands on some- add bone marrow with the beef shanks. you’ll thank me later. enjoy!
- 2-3 lb bone in beef shanks
- 32 oz low sodium beef broth
- 1 bunch carrots, chopped
- 10-12 small stalks lemon grass, broken up
- 5 cups water
- 1 tbsp shrimp paste
- ¼ cup fish sauce
- 7 star anise pods
- ½ tbsp whole all spice
- 1 nub of ginger
- ½ tbsp paprika
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- cooked rice noodles
- garnish: cilantro, thai basil, green onion
- in a slow cooker place beef shanks, chopped carrots, broth and lemon grass
- cook on low for 8-10 hours
- separate broth from carrots and beef
- discard the lemon grass
- at this point you may refrigerate the broth for a few hours to solidify the excess fat for removal
- if you are skipping this step, skim the fat from broth and discard
- pour the broth in a large pot and bring to a boil
- to make it easier, i wrap the star anise and all spice in cheese cloth so i can fish them out later
- to the broth add the water, shrimp paste, fish sauce, star anise and all spice, ginger, paprika and cayenne pepper
- simmer for 30 minutes
- remove the ginger, star anise and all spice
- add back in the beef and carrots
- serve over rice noodles and garnish with cilantro, thai basil and green onion
a quick note on asian shrimp paste and fish sauce. i used vietnamese shrimp paste (mam ruoc) and fish sauce (nuoc mam) in the recipe above. i’m no expert on these condiments but all i know is that they are very different from asian country to asian country.
and if you want to be a super cheat- pacific natural foods sells an organic beef pho base. you can replace the water, shrimp paste, anise, all spice, and ginger with 32 oz of the pho base.