Editor's note: Each Saturday afternoon we bring you a Sunday Supper recipe. Why on Saturday? So you have time to shop and prepare for tomorrow.
Few things are more comforting or restorative than a piping-hot bowl of pho. And the scent when it cooks, slow and low, wafting throughout your home? That's about as good as it gets.
This fairly effortless version is done in a slow cooker, resulting in a rich, aromatic broth that closely resembles the one served at your corner noodle store. Don't have all the spices on hand? Pho spice packets can be found in the Asian section of most well-stocked grocery stores. You can swap one out for the seasonings; however, they tend to taste fairly artificial in nature.
The bones should definitely be par-boiled, drained, and rinsed before preparing the soup. This eliminates impurities that result in an off-tasting, cloudy broth.
If your broth is hot enough (as in boiling), you can spoon it over the noodles and let them sit for a few minutes to cook through. Otherwise, par-cooking them is best. As for the beef, put it in the freezer for about 20 minutes before you plan on slicing it, and use a very sharp knife. This way, it's much easier to cut the desired wisps of meat.
About the author: Jennifer Olvera is a veteran food and travel writer and author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Chicago." Follow her on Twitter @olverajennifer.