FAUX PHO (VIETNAMESE-AMERICAN)
After last night's success with a more-or-less traditional Vietnamese beef pho, and looking for something light this evening after grazing on bad food today at the Kentucky State Fair, I decided to take the basic pho technique and modify it to take advantage of a fridge full of leftover bits of this and that. The results were thoroughly satisfactory, and certainly did no violence to the original Vietnamese concept, even if Uncle Ho would never recognize it.
As with last night's concoction, I started with two cups of good homemade chicken broth, and simmered them for 15 minutes with garlic (one fat clove), fresh ginger (a 1/2-inch cube) and star anise (four), briefly "roasted" in the toaster oven before throwing into the broth.
While the broth was simmering, I sliced the stem ends of a bunch of fresh asparagus (I had already used the spear points) into 1/4-inch bits, about 1/2 cup; diced 1/2 small sweet (Walla Walla) onion; and peeled and sliced paper thin the trunk of one broccoli tree (the florets had gone around the bend, but the stem was still fine). Removed the garlic, ginger and anise stars, and threw all the veggies into the simmering broth for the last five minutes, just long enough for them to cook until tender but crisp.
I also sliced paper thin about 1/3 pound of a cold leftover boneless pork loin that I had poked full of garlic and smoked on the Weber grill the other night, and set aside bowls of minced fresh cilantro, a thin-sliced fresh jalapeno, hoisin sauce, nam pla (Thai fish sauce) and lime quarters.
During the last minute or so, I boiled the remaining 6 ounces of the fresh Chinese wheat noodles I opened last night. As soon as it floated, I drained it and put it in bowls. Lay the pork slices atop the noodles, and pour over the broth with its cargo of asparagus, broccoli and onions.
Garnish at the table with the cilantro, jalapenoes, hoisin, fish sauce and lime, and devour. With all the veggies it makes a meal in a dish, no need for salad or anything else.
I still say Uncle Ho would have approved ...