When I made the switch to a Paleo diet, one of the things I missed the most was pho. Pho is a Vietnamese soup made with meat, vegetables, and rice noodles. Did you see the Man vs. Food Nation Super Pho Challenge episode? I am fairly certain I could crush that challenge with zero obstacles.
As I was typing this recipe up, it dawned on me that you could make the broth beforehand, freeze it, and make this soup during the week in smaller quantities and in about 20 minutes. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that sooner! The next time I make this, I will have to remember that.
This is a copycat recipe that was inspired by the beef noodle soup from Penny’s Noodles in Chicago. When I was in graduate school, I used to pick this soup up on my way home from class and it was always so hard not to tear into the bag and eat it immediately! I like to eat this soup alongside a crisp, cold, cucumber salad.
You’ll notice this recipe calls for star anise. Personally, I think that is a key flavor in this dish and should not be omitted. Star anise has a licorice flavor and adds a good layer of flavor to the broth. You can buy star anise online here if you cannot find it in your local grocery store.
My grocery store sells packaged chop suey meat. If your grocery does not sell chop suey beef, you can use stew beef. You’ll need to cut the stew beef into very small pieces before you cook it.
- 1 star anise
- 6 whole cloves
- 1 whole cinnamon stick
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, minced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 lb. chop suey meat
- 8 ounces mushrooms, quartered
- 1 small head of broccoli, chopped
- 4 stalks of kale, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chili paste (2 tablespoons if you want an extra kick)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- Thinly sliced radish
- Green onion
- Bean sprouts (not strict Paleo)
- In a pan over medium heat, toast the cloves, star anise, and cinnamon until fragrant to open the flavors. This should take about 5 minutes. Remove the spices from the pan so they do not burn and set aside. (See note).
- In a large pot over medium heat, sauté the shallot, garlic, and ginger in the coconut oil for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly so the garlic does not burn.
- Add vegetable broth and spices and bring to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce the heat, and simmer for 2 hours.
- Fish the whole spices out of the broth. Add the beef and bring the soup to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and add the mushrooms, broccoli, and kale. Simmer for an additional 20 minutes.
- Add the chili paste. Stir, taste and adjust the seasoning. If the soup is tasting a bit flat, add a teaspoon of sea salt to bring out the flavors.
- Serve with any or all of the garnishes above!
- I use ground cardamom in this recipe because I did not have whole cardamom. Ground spices burn quickly; therefore, I do not toast the cardamom. I just add it right to the broth in step 3.