17 December 2014

Moose, Pho Shizzle.

One of this year's best discoveries was that pho can be made at home. Now there is no going back. No phoking way.

We took a break from making sugary Christmas treats to make some nourishing moose pho.

Moose Pho

This is a two day recipe.  Make the broth on day one and the next day eat your soup.  The anticipation from the fragrant pho mist swirling through your house will just make it taste better.

Pho is the perfect solution for using that moose your neighbour gave you but you aren't quite sure what cut it is. 

Day 1: Broth

2-1/2 lbs moose (this is a great use for that little red chicken moose, those unrecognizable cuts evidently quite popular with Newfoundland butchers)

Due to a strange dearth of star anise and whole cloves in
Newfoundland, we had to beg a mainlander to send the spices. 
1 onion (cut in half, still in skin)
a piece of ginger root, about 4 inches long (or more, or less to taste)

7 green cardamon pods
3 whole star anise
1 tsp whole coriander
1 cinnamon stick
6 cloves

1 tsp  sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce 

Put your moose in a pan and cover with cold water.  Bring to boil.  Then strain the moose and give it a good wash under the tap. (I know it seems weird, but it helps give you a clean broth). Put your nice clean moose into a CLEAN POT and cover with 4 quarts of water.

Char 'em good!
Char your ginger and onion.  Get our your cast iron pan and heat it up dry. When it's hot put the two halves of the onion and the ginger in the pan and start charring.  You want them to be blackened, but you don't want to set them on fire.  Be vigilant.  Turn occasionally.  It took me about 12 minutes to get a good char.

Put your onion, skin and all, in the pot with the moose.

Peel your charred ginger.  Use a spoon to to scrape off as much as skin as possible, then smash it with a heavy object. Jamie Oliver uses his fist for this kind of business, but I am incapable of doing this, so I use the bottom of pan. Bung your ginger in the pot.

In your dry cast iron pan, lightly toast your cardamon, star anise, coriander seed, cinnamon stick and cloves until just fragrant.  Add to pot.

Add you sugar and fish sauce.  Don't forget the fish sauce.  It makes the whole thing sing.  Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer for about 4-1/2 hours or until reduced by half.  

Stick in fridge to cool overnight.  

Day 2:  Putting it all together

cold pot of broth with moose from day 1

rice vermicelli noodles

fish sauce
bunch of spring onion
hot peppers

Get your cold moose and broth out of the fridge.  Strain the moose broth into a clean bowl or saucepan.  DO NOT DISCARD the liquid this time!
Pick through the moose reserving the good stuff in separate container.  Get rid on any fat, bones, gristle and all the spices, the ginger and the onion.  You will end up with a beautiful broth in one container and the best meaty bits shredded in another. 

Measuring about a ladle and a half per person, heat your broth back up in a heavy saucepan.

Finely slice your spring onion and hot pepper.  Put these along with cilantro and some lime quarters on a plate to serve with your pho.  This way everyone can choose how much limey, oniony, hot peppery they want.

Prepare your noodles according to package instructions which will probably involve a quick boil and/or soak in boiling water followed by a cold water rinse.  Do not skip the cold water rinse unless you like mushy noodles (you don't, believe me). 

To serve: Put your cooked noodles and some shredded moose in the bottom of a bowl.  Ladle the hot broth over the noodles and moose, and serve with the fresh toppings.  Let everyone add toppings, extra fish sauce and sriracha to taste.

Remaining moose and broth can be stored (separately!) in the refrigerator if you will be eating more soon, or can be frozen for a quick meal another day.

According to caribougrrl, moose pho makes an excellent breakfast the next day.  

I know it may surprise you to learn that Harbour Grace is not on the cutting edge of contemporary food culture?!   Despite this, and thanks to the food-e-net, caribou and I are exposed to new wonderful dishes and delights everyday.  Having a blog has pushed us to try new and tastier things and has made our lives infinitely more delicious.  

You have to drive to St. John's or Corner Brook to get good pho, you can't just say to yourself, hey, let's get pho from that cute little Vietnamese place down the road in the middle of nowhere.  But we read about it.  We saw the pictures. We drooled.  We got frustrated by the complete absence of key spices in the local shops.  We sweet-talked a friend into mailing us star anise and whole cloves from the mainland.  

Then we made pho.  Lots of pho of all sorts. There is no going back now. No phoking way.

Fefe Noir had to dig through the snow to rescue the last of the cilantro.  Well, she would have had to dig through the snow if it hadn't melted...

UPDATE RE: SPICES: We have it on twitter authority that star anise can be found, at least sometimes, in St. John's at the Magic Wok Chinese Grocery on Duckworth St. and the Blackmarsh Rd. Dominion.  I'm pretty sure I scoured the Dominion stores, but maybe my timing was wrong.  Whole cloves should be able to be found everywhere, but over the last few months we had no luck at all... perhaps with the stores stocking holiday foodstuffs, it's a good time to keep a look out.


  1. Excellent phoking moose pho post...now I am going to head up to the Sidmouth Store to see if I can't find some of that red moose...I have the cloves and the star anise ;)

    1. Might be difficult to find in Tasmania! I wonder if there's a veg substitute for venison?


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