Skip the expensive restaurants and food additives by learning how to make pho at home! This nourishing Vietnamese soup provides the benefits of bone broth, meat, and veggies in a simple meal. Perfect for busy weeknight dinners or nourishment while you're sick!
Place the bones in a large stockpot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes before draining and rinsing the bones with water. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Spread rinsed bones, onion, garlic, and ginger into an even layer in a roasting pan. (Use two pans if you cannot make an even layer in one) Roast for 60 minutes stirring once halfway through.
As the bones are roasting, add all star anise, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom pods, coriander seeds, and fennel seeds to a large, dry skillet over low heat. Toast your spices, stirring often to prevent burning, until fragrant, approximately 5 minutes. Make a spice sachet by transfer to your cheesecloth and gathering at the top and tying with kitchen twine.
Transfer the bones into a slow cooker. Scrape bits and juices remaining in the roasting pan into the pot with the bones. (*see note)
Cover bones with water and add spice sachet, 1/2 cup fish sauce and 3 tablespoons sugar. Cook on low for 12-24 hours, occasionally skimming the fat and foam from the top of the pot. Add more water if the bones do not stay submerged.
Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer. At this point you can cool the broth completely, place in airtight containers and freeze for future use. Or, prepare the soup. (**see note)
Divide noodles among six serving bowls, and arrange strips of meat over them. Bring stock to a boil if chilled. Pour boiling stock over meat and noodles, pushing beef into hot liquid so that it cooks. Arrange bean sprouts and other garnishes over beef and noodles; serve immediately.
If you don't want to take the time to make broth from scratch, you can substitute 3 cups of beef stock, 1 1/2 cups water and 3 Tablespoons of fish sauce. Combine and bring to a boil. Pour over noodles and sliced beef.
*If you do not have a crock pot, you can simmer the bones on the stove, cool, place in fridge overnight, and continue simmering the following day.
**If you refrigerate the stock a hard, thick layer of fat will form on the top. Use a fork to scoop off the top layer of fat before preparing the soup.