Monday, 28 January 2008

Sunday Kitchen

Come Sunday there is no excuse to not fill the house with wonderful aromas. It’s the perfect day for food that takes just a little bit longer. Some weekends, however, you don’t want to be chained to the kitchen yet still crave the deeply flavoured fare that only comes with slow cooking. Those are the Sundays I set an intensely flavoured stock to simmer in the morning, inhale its delicious aromas throughout the day and return in the evening to find the perfect base for a deeply comforting dinner.

This is not your standard nursery food stock of carrots and celery, although that certainly has its place. This aromatic beef broth with hints of South-East Asia and layers of spice is the perfect beginning for a quick noodle soup or a slow cooked hotpot filled with meltingly tender meat. In the colder months I favour the latter but while the weather is still pleasant I like to pair it with quickly grilled transparently thin slices of tender marinated beef. While I can’t make any promises as to authenticity I can assure you of the sort of deliciousness that has your scraping the bowl for that last spoonful of broth.

This is also my entry to Presto Pasta Nights hosted by Ruth at Once Upon a Feast.

Spicy Beef and Rice Noodle Soup

Serves 2

1 kg chicken bones
1 knob ginger
1 onion quartered
4 cloves garlic with skin
1/2 tsp peppercorns, lightly crushed
2 cardamom pods, crushed
1 stick cinnamon, broken into pieces
1 tsp brown sugar
3 star anises
fish sauce
1 packet rice noodles

Grilled Beef
300g/10oz scotch fillet
2 tsp sesame oil
2 cloves garlic crushed
2 tbsp soy sauce

To garnish:
Sliced spring onions
sliced fresh chilli
lemon wedges

In a non-reactive bowl rub your beef with the sesame oil, crushed garlic and soy sauce. Place in the fridge to marinate.

In a dry pan briefly toast your star anise, cinnamon, peppercorns and cardamom.

Place your chicken bones in a large pot and fill with enough cold water to cover the bones completely. Bring the water to the boil and add the remaining ingredients except the noodles and fish sauce. Turn the heat down to the smallest whisper, cover with a lid and leave to infuse over the course of the day. For a quicker stock you can turn the heat up to a simmer and leave for just 30 minutes.

When you are ready to eat skim the stock and strain. Season with fish sauce to taste. Return to the heat.

Prepare the rice noodles according to package instructions. These usually require you cover them with hot water until they are softened.

While the noodles are softening, on a grill pan or bbq briefly sear the scotch fillet on the highest heat. The meat will continue cooking once added to the soup so you are only seeking a charred exterior with a meltingly pink interior. 2 minutes per side should suffice.

Drain the noodles and add them to the pot of warm broth. Slice the beef as finely as possible.

To serve divide the noodles between two bowls and ladle over the broth. Arrange the beef slices on top and scatter with bean sprouts, chilli, coriander and spring onions. Serve with lemon wedges.


Peter M said...

Ahhh, this meal must have perfumed your whole house, fantastic spices here and lovely presentation.

stickyfingers said...

Mmm, one of my favourite comfort foods especially when I'm run down.

BTW thanks for dropping by the Vanilla Slice Blog - glad you enjoyed it. I have two more posts to put up this weekend, and continuing on the Aussie icon theme, I have just done my first piece for a collaborative Meat Pie Blog...

... that was cooked up with two other bloggers. Cheers!

glamah16 said...

Wow, we are on the same page!Next time I'll use thinner slices of beef like you. The stew chunks were heavy for me. Although the man liked them.:-)But your right the aromas are wonderful.

Annemarie said...

I agree about Sundays, though I always feel a bit embarrassed on the Monday morning when people ask what you did with the weekend and I have to honestly respond "I spent it cooking". I love the vietnamese-style soup you've posted - I get acute cravings for it every so often, and I think you may have just induced the need for a pho hit!

Deborah said...

I can only imagine how good this would smell!!

winedeb said...

Very tempting indeed! I love filling our home with aromas of something savory stewing away on the stove for a few hours. I especially love it during the warm days when the windows are open and these aromas drift over to the neighbors. Always a fun conversation follows!
Very nice photo!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

I agree completely. There is something unmistakably satisfying about cooking on Sundays.

Wendy said...

This is one of my favourite dishes to (though I make the stock differently). It feels so restorative. Feeling inspired to have it this evening now!

Truffle said...

Peter M - thanks so much. It certainly does release a wonderful spicy scent.

Glamah16- great minds! I think the stew chunks are perfect for a heartier meal.

Annemarie - I'm the same way! Hope you enjoy the pho!

Deborah - it's an intoxicating aroma and a pleasure to cook.

winedeb - your neighbours must be envious of the scents wafting out of your kitchen! Thank you :)

Susan - it's a great pleasure, isn't it? Thanks for reading!

Wendy - It's incredibly restorative, isn't it? So soothing. Hope you enjoy yours!

katiez said...

How wonderful! And I just found some whole star anise! I didn't have a clue what to do with them... but they just needed to be in my pantry!
Great looking dish!

stickyfingers said...

If you'd like a variation on the recipe, my Chinese Grandmother - who grew up in Vietnam - also added these elements to the stock in her recipe.

Beef Shin (Osso Buco/Shanks)
Beef rib or spine
Gravy Beef (whole)
half cup Sherry or Shaosing wine
4 cloves
Cassia bark instead of cinnamon

The method is different in that the water is boiled and then the bones are added. She was adamant that the meat should not come in contact with cold water.

The onion is sliced finely and the ginger is grated. Both are then mixed together with a splash of the wine, before charring over high heat until slightly burnt, before adding to the stock. You need the caramalisation for depth of flavour.

We don't pre-roast the dry herbs but add them to the stock wrapped in a muslin bag. You boil the lot for 20min and then simmer for 4hours, skimming off any fat as you go.

At the end we take out the gravy beef and slice it - it should be buttery tender and is a different meaty texture to complement the fillet steak.

We add a little fish sauce when plating up, and Hoi Sin sauce is offered as an accompaniment with Thai Basil, mint and the herbs you mentioned. We also squeeze in some fresh lime or lemon.

I feel nurtured after eating this and whenever I've been ill for a while it perks me up. I hope you like it too.

Bellini Valli said...

This soup would have done me a world of good last week...wonderful flavour combinations!

Big Boys Oven said...

Lovely, gorgeous, beautiful and so divine, it already melts my heart!

Truffle said...

Katie- thanks so much! Hope you enjoy the star anise.

Stickyfingers- this sounds fabulous. Thank you so much for sharing :)

Bellini Valli - thank you! It's wonderful comfort food.

Big Boys Oven- that's so kind of you! Thank you!

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

That looks fantastic. Perfect to eat any time!!

kellypea said...

I clicked on your site expecting to see a lemon meringue pie and saw the beef instead. Oh. My. Goodness. It looks wonderful. And right up our alley around here. I'd love to try this!

Truffle said...

Amanda- thanks so much!

Kellypea- I'm afraid I didn't manage to do this month's challenge but am so glad you were pleasantly surprised!

Naomi Devlin said...

Ooh, that sounds really similar to a Vietnamese Beef Pho I make. My butcher gives me the bones for free because nobody else seems to make beef stock anymore.

It's just the thing when the days are dark and windy and I'm craving something clean and warming.

White On Rice Couple said...

This looks beautiful and Vietnamese Pho Beef noodle soup can be made in so many different variations.
Your presentation of it looks outstanding too! Makes me crave it. Love your use of the wider noodles too.

Kevin said...

That looks really good! What a nice combination of flavours. The use of cinnamon is pretty interesting.

tuna said...

i'll be giving this one a go for sure.

A scientist in the kitchen said...

All week long I have been craving for this kind of noodles! I'm off to the kitchen and do this one...

Truffle said...

Naomi - it's loosely based around the same idea but my version is not quite authentic enough to be deserving of the title. Your stock sounds delicious!

White On Rice Couple - thank you so much! I have a mild addiction to wide rice noodles.

tuna - I hope you enjoy it! Thanks for reading :)

A scientist in the kitchen - I'm so glad it appeals. I hope you like it :)

The Cooking Ninja said...

This looks super yummy. I'm craving for some beef noodle soup. Will have to try this soon.

Ti said...

This is looks yummy!!, good for cold winter.

Jared said...

This soup looks great. Couldn't agree with you more about slow cooking. I like to make pulled pork and brisket. It takes 10-12 hours to cook it and the aromas of slow cooking meat fill my apartment during the process.

Talat said...

This one looks good . Might give it a try this sunday ! Thanks for sharing this recipe .

Sophie said...

We would like to feature this recipe on our blog. Please email if interested. Thanks :)