Instant Pot Beef Pho

IMG_1433I’m a traditionalist when it comes to cooking food.  I enjoy taking my time and following precise techniques and steps to properly cook food to 1) allow the flavors to mingle and develop, no matter how long it takes, from start to finish and 2) achieve consistent outcome each time.

However, my two young girls are super busy with homework and extracurricular activities after school every day during the week.  Instead of just eating out at Taco Bell and McDonald’s every night (even though I know they wouldn’t mind these options), I am determined to squeeze in some time to cook delicious, comforting, quick home-cooked meals to limit us from eating out each night of the week.

Last Black Friday, I hopped on the Instant Pot hype train and purchased myself an 8 quart Instant Pot Duo. Scored on a great deal too!  Many people swear it’s the greatest product on earth and I wanted to check it out myself to see if it can help save ME some much needed time.  I approve! I love that it’s super easy to use and that it can cook noodle soup and other recipes in less than half the time. I especially enjoy and appreciate the ‘set it and forget it’ type feature and not have to constantly monitor the food while it’s cooking. This frees up some time and allows me to quickly do some errands and/or pick up the kids from gymnastics class while their dinner is cooking.

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Instant Pot Beef Pho was one of the first things I cooked with the Instant Pot.  The girls are always down to eat Pho and love the fact that they can now request Pho any day of the week.  In the words of Emily, “I knoww, riiiiiight?”  I tried this simple recipe out on the Instant Pot a few times, and it literally cuts the cooking time in half.  Prior to posting this recipe, I shared this recipe with a few friends and they’ve also tried it on the Instant Pot and provided positive feedback and enjoyed it.  I hope you get a chance to try my first Instant Pot recipe!

Ingredients for Broth:
3 pounds beef bones, parboiled and cleaned
1.5 pounds beef brisket
Water, enough to fill max line on the Instant Pot
2 small yellow onion, peeled and charred
1 piece of ginger, peeled, halved, and charred
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 tablespoon salt, more to taste
1-2 pieces rock sugar, more to taste
8 star anise
6 cloves
1 cinnamon stick

Ingredients for Pho Bowls and Additional Garnish
2 Bags fresh small flat rice noodles (bánh phở), cooked according to package instructions (If the fresh is not available, you can always use the dry kind)
Top Round Beef or Beef Tenderloin, thinly sliced
1 package Bo Vien (Vietnamese Beef Meatballs), halved
3 or 4 scallions, thinly chopped
1 bunch fresh cilantro chopped
Bean Sprout
Thai Basil
Jalapeno, thinly sliced
Lime, sliced
Black pepper
Hoison Sauce
Sriracha Sauce

Steps:

Char onions and ginger.  Broil or grill whole onions and ginger over high heat until exterior is charred.  Rotate as needed until all the sides are charred.  After it is charred, let it cool then remove the charred part and set aside.

Toast spices: Add star anise, cloves, and cinnamon to a small frying pan and toast over Low heat until fragrant. Add toasted spices in a tea ball.  If you don’t have a tea ball, you can put it in a cheesecloth or make a foil packet and pierce a few holes in the foil packet.

Parboil Bones: Fill a large stockpot with water. Add beef bones in the stock pot and bring to a boil.  Simmer for ten minutes.  After boiling for ten minutes, dump the bones into a clean sink and wash and scrub all the scum and impurities off the bones.

Make Broth in Instant Pot: Gently add beef bones, beef brisket, onion, ginger, fish sauce, salt, and rock sugar, and spices to the instant pot. Set pressure to Pressure Cook and set cook time to 45 minutes and cook. Quick release the pressure when cooking time is completed. Remove brisket and spice packet and strain broth into a clean stockpot.

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Assemble Pho Bowls: Add cooked noodles to a bowl.  Top with assorted meats, herbs, and garnishes and then pour boiling broth into the bowl.  Serve hot.

Tips:

  • Parboiling bones is an essential part of the cooking process even when using an Instant Pot.  Do not skip!
  • Use your favorite thinly sliced beef cuts.
  • This recipe makes about 6 good sized bowls.  Plan accordingly.
  • Can substitute beef knuckle or beef chuck for beef brisket or not include brisket if unavailable.

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