As winter approaches and the temperature drops in Missouri, usually around early to mid-November, our weekly menu almost always includes soup. I’ve shared several of my favorite soup recipes in earlier posts, and this week I’m adding a new one.

Yep. This mid-west gal who is a blend of Hungarian, German, Swedish and French, decided to try her hand at Vietnamese cuisine. And it was really good!

My version of this recipe for Pho, also commonly called Vietnamese Noodle Soup, evolved as I researched traditional Vietnamese recipes. I added the thinly sliced carrots and radishes because they added beautiful color and a little crunch to the dish, and the chili-head in me had to include sliced jalapenos!

I was a little hesitant making the broth, mainly because I hadn’t had a lot of experience using star anise and cardamom, however once I tasted complex layers of the spices and how well they complimented the other ingredients, any remaining hesitation quickly disappeared. I’m giving myself a ‘Dang Girl’ on this one!


1-16 ounce lean beef sirloin roast, trimmed of any fat
8 ounces rice noodles
5 cups beef broth
4 radishes, thinly sliced
4 scallions, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons fish sauce
3 cups water
2-star anise pods
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced and seeded
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
1-4-inch piece ginger peeled and cut in half
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, gently torn


1) Prepare the rice noodles according to package directions and set aside.

2) Pour the olive oil into a large soup pot, coating the bottom of the pot and set it to medium-high heat.

3) Poke the meat all over with a fork to tenderize it and season it with salt and pepper.

4) Place the meat into the soup pot and sear it 3 to 4 minutes per side until browned all over and still pink in the center. Transfer the meat to a plate, tent it with aluminum foil and let it rest.

5) Add the onion and ginger to the pot and cook about 4 minutes until the fragrance of the ingredients has been released. Add the broth, 3 cups water, the star anise, cardamom, and cinnamon. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the liquid for about 20 minutes.

6) Slice the meat thinly against the grain and drain the noodles.

7) Increase the heat on the soup pot and stir the fish sauce. Boil for 5 minutes.

8) Discard the ginger, star anise and cinnamon stick and remove the pot from the heat.

9) To serve, divide the noodles among four soup bowls, and then add the beef, scallions, bean sprouts, carrots, radishes, and jalapenos. Spoon the beef broth over the top and garnish with the chopped cilantro.

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