The 10lb bone-in pork shank I picked up from Herman’s Quality Meats and smoked for our Christmas dinner provided me with all kinds of leftover inspirations. I wasted as little of the shank as possible and even utilized the ham bone to make the amazing Pho style stock I used for this recipe.
For the bone broth, I loaded up my slow cooker with my leftover smoked ham bone, star anise, jalapeno, dehydrated ginger, onion, a fresh stalk of lemongrass, carrots and generously seasoned it with salt and pepper. The slow cooker then did all the work for me and made the house smell pretty amazing. Pho is one of my favorite soups and the broth is definitely what sets this Vietnamese noodle soup apart from other classic noodle soups you may be more familiar with. Pho stock can get pretty involved with toasting the spices, charring the ginger and onions, and simmering it low and slow for hours. I have a much older blog entry with step by step instructions on how to make an incredible Pho Ga (chicken) stock by hand, but for this recipe I kept it simple and quick by utilizing the slow cooker. It’s nice to just set it and forget it.
If you are in a real crunch for time or just don’t feel like making homemade stock, any good quality stock you want to use will work just fine. Just don’t skip the star anise, ginger, and lemongrass. Those are the flavors that really elevate the soup into something special and make this a Pho.
Vietnamese Style Ham Bone Broth
1 leftover Ham Bone, with some meat and fat left intact
4 Star Anise, lightly toasted
1 stalk Lemongrass, trimmed and outer leaves removed
4 slices dehydrated Ginger, or 1″ piece fresh Ginger
1 Sweet onion, quartered
2 cloves Black garlic, or regular garlic
2 lg Carrots, trimmed and quartered
1 Jalapeno, left whole with a thin slit in one side
2 tsp Fish Sauce, or to taste
1 tsp Coconut Aminos
6 cups of Water
Optional Spices: toasted Cinnamon Stick, Fennel Seeds, Coriander Seeds & Clove
Set a slow cooker to low and add in all ingredients. Cover and cook for 6 to 8 hours, checking the water level occasionally. Once the stock has reached your desired flavor, turn off the heat.
To clean up the broth, ladle the broth through a mesh skimmer as you add it to a container or serving bowl, discarding all the spices, vegetables, meat, and bones as you do. I usually ladle my broth through a mesh skimmer twice. Once the broth is clean, store it in the fridge until you are ready to use or continue with the Pho recipe below.
Smoked Shank Pho
2 to 4 cups Ham Bone Broth
2 to 4 slices leftover Smoked Ham (optional marinade/method below)
1 to 2 servings Rice Vermicelli, cooked per pkg directions
1 sm Carrot, trimmed and sliced
1/2 cup Fresh Thai (Holy) Basil, or Sweet Basil
1/4 cup chopped Dandelion leaves, optional
1/2 Lime, quartered
Optional Additional Garnishes: Fresh Cilantro, Fresh Culantro, Sliced Jalapeno, Mung Bean Sprouts, Chili Paste
Assemble the soup in a large bowl. Add the Vermicelli, sliced pork, and ladle over hot ham bone broth. Add any additional garnish you prefer and finish with a generous squeeze of lime. Serve immediately.
The smoked ham I used would have been tasty on it’s own just warmed through with the hot bone broth but I opted to marinate it the night before. I submerged the pork slices in a mixture of Soy Sauce and Reeds Hard Ginger Beer, to which I also added sliced onion, Hoisin sauce, and a bit of crushed Red Pepper flakes. Just before serving the soup, I removed the pork from the marinade and seared it off for a few seconds per side in a bit of Grapeseed oil. The marinade really added an amazing flavor to the ham but this step is completely optional.