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Pho

5 pounds beef bones with marrow
5 pounds oxtails
1 pound flank steak
2 large onions, unpeeled, halved, and studded with 8 cloves
3 shallots, unpeeled
2-ounce piece ginger, unpeeled
8 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
4 medium parsnips cut in 2-inch chunks
2 teaspoons salt
1 pound beef sirloin
2 scallions thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
2 medium onions thinly sliced
1/4 cup hot chili sauce
1 pound 1/4-inch wide rice noodles (or banh pho)
1/2 cup nuoc mam (Vietnamese fish sause)
freshly grounded black pepper
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
2 fresh chili peppers, sliced
2 limes cut in wedges
1 bunch fresh mint
1 bunch fresh Asian or regular basil

Soak bone overnight in cold water. Place bones, oxtails and flank
steak in a large stock pot. Add water to cover and bring to a boil.
Cook 10 minutes, drain and rinse pot and bones. Return bones to
pot, add 6 quarts water and bring to a boil. Skim surface of scum
and fat. Stir bones at bottom from time to time. Add 3 more quarts
water, bring to a boil again and skim scum. Lower heat and let
simmer. Char clove-studded onions, shallots, and ginger under a
broiler until they release their flagrant odors. Tie charred
vegetables, star anise, and cinnamon stick in a thick, dampened
cheesecloth. Put it in stock with parsnips and salt. Simmer for 1
hour. Remove flank steak and continue simmering broth, uncovered
pot, for 4-5 hours. Add more water if level goes below bones.

Meanwhile, slice beef sirloin against grain into paper-thin slices,
about 2-by-2 inches. slice flank steak the same way. Set aside. In
a small bowl,combine scallions, cilantro, and half the sliced
onions. place remaining onions in another bowl and mix in hot chili
sauce. Soak rice noodles in warm water for 30 minutes. Drain and
set aside.

When broth is ready, discard bones. Strain broth through a colander
lined with a double layer of damp cheesecloth into a clean pot.
Add fish sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. In
another pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add noodles and
drain immediately. Do not overcook noodles. Divide among 4 large
soup bowls. Top noodles with sliced meats. Bring broth to a rolling
boil, then ladle into soup bowls. Garnish with scallions mixture
and black pepper. Serve the onions in hot chili sauce and remaining
ingredients on the side to add as desired. Also, you can add Hoisin
sauce as a dip.

Serves 4.

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