Pho is something I crave pretty much constantly in the winter, even in the “winter” in SF, which is nowhere near as intense as the winters I grew up with. Lately though, I’ve been saying “WTF, I DID NOT move to California to freeze my ass off” because we’ve had way too many weeks of cold and rain, and combined with crapola heat and basically no insulation in our house, it’s been tough to warm up.
Earlier this week when the pho craving hit, Simon and I braved the elements (hah) and went to our favorite nearby noodle house (Kevin’s Noodle House on Irving and 19th) and took note that while we were freezing walking there, we were nice and toasty walking back. That stuff seriously warms you right up!
Making Pho at home is not necessarily difficult skill-wise, but it kind of takes forever. Not ideal for when you want it now-ish. And of course while there is a pressure cooker adaptation in Paleo Soups and Stews, I wanted to streamline it even further for the quickest Pho possible. Speaking of Paleo Soups and Stews, you know that there are TONS of pressure cooker and slow cooker recipes in there, right? Any recipe that takes more than an hour on the stove-top has instructions to make it in your Instantpot / pressure cooker and slow cooker. So you should probably get a copy if you don’t have one yet! 😉
Alright, since it’s still quicker to go to a noodle house for pho (and probably cheaper but that’s besides the point) I’ll get on with the recipe so you can get cooking.
Instantpot Beef Pho
prep time: 5 minutes
cook time: 1 hour, plus time to get up to and release pressure (about 40 additional)
yield: 4-6 servings
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole star anise
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
6 whole cloves
1 teaspoon beef tallow or avocado oil
1 large onion, diced
2 thumb-sized pieces ginger, halved lengthwise
2 pounds oxtail
2 pounds meaty beef shank
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon coconut sugar (or 2 large dates if doing a Whole30)
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons fish sauce
3/4 pound flank steak, sliced very thin (freezing for 30-45 minutes makes it much easier to slice thin)
rice noodles, tapioca noodles, or your favorite veggie noodles
spiral sliced or julienned daikon (I like this in place of bean sprouts)
1 bunch Thai basil, mint, and/or cilantro
1 jalapeño, sliced
additional fish sauce
- Turn the Instantpot on Saute and let it warm up. Add the cinnamon stick, star anise, peppercorns, coriander seeds, and cloves. Toast them for 4-5 minutes, or until very fragrant. Remove the spices to a bowl.
- Add the tallow to the insert. Once melted, add the onion and ginger, trying to get as much of their surface area touching the bottom of the insert as possible. Let the aromatics cook for 6 minutes, without stirring. (you want some charring to happen here)
- Return the spices to the pot, along with the oxtail, beef shank, apple cider vinegar, coconut sugar (or dates) and salt. Pour in 8 cups of water, or as much as you need to be covering the contents but below the MAX line.
- Set for 50 minutes at high pressure (press MEAT/STEW and + to 50). The display will read ON until the Instantpot gets up to pressure, at which point it will read the time you entered.
- After the 50 minutes are up, press Cancel and allow the pressure to release naturally for 20 minutes before turning the nozzle to release the remaining pressure.
- Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer, removing the meaty parts with tongs and setting aside. Remove as much meat from the bones as possible. Skim off the fat that rises to the top. Stir in the fish sauce and season to taste with additional salt, coconut sugar or more fish sauce, if desired.
- Return the meat to the broth and serve piping hot, along with the flank steak, noodles of choice, herbs, jalapeños and seasonings for each person to add in as they please. (The thinly sliced flank steak will cook in the hot broth)
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