2013 Week 31 – Vietnamese – Bún bò Huế (Beef Noodle Soup)

I get pho far too often, so sometimes I like to change it up.  My second go to is this beef noodle soup, bún bò huế.  So for this week’s theme, I decided to try my hand at it.

With any noodle soup dish, it all starts with the broth.

Beef bones, beef shank, onion, salt, sugar, lemongrass, and a little pineapple.  I went searching for a recipe and took parts from a few that I liked.  Had this going pretty much all day.  At the 3 hour mark, I did take out the beef shank as it was done and I didn’t want it to over cook.  Over cooking it just makes it super soup, like fall apart.  You don’t want that here.  You want tender, but still holds it shape.  For the first 2 hours or so, I was checking on it every 15 minutes to keep skimming the top scum off.  I did pre-boil the bones for a few minutes to clean them too.

Prepped the garnishes as dinner time approached.  Nothing fancy here, peppers, bean sprouts, onions, and cilantro. Oh, I forgot to snap a picture of the sauce that went into the broth towards the end. I sauteed some garlic and shallots, and then added fish sauce, shrimp paste, chili, salt, sugar, and some spoonfuls of the broth.  Mixed them all together and tossed them into the broth at the last 30 minutes of simmering.  Careful with the fish sauce and shrimp paste, it has a very pungent smell, but it gets better once it cooks up a bit.  Just don’t go over board.  I used about 1 tablespoon of each.  Though I think I could have gone with 2.

The beef shank after 3 hours or so. Then cut up into cubes.  As the noodles were cooking away, I was filtering out everything from the broth with a fine mesh colander.

Combine everything to your liking, and slurp away!

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