Vietnamese-Style Beef Soup

From Whole Foods Recipes, http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/3039

Serves 4

Chuck blade steak is very thinly sliced for this soup, then cooked by the heat of boiling spiced broth poured over it.

Ingredients

1 pound beef chuck blade center steak, well trimmed of fat
6 cups low-sodium beef both
1 1/2-inch piece ginger root, cut into thin disks
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 large star anise pod
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, caps thinly sliced (3 cups total)
1 (3 3/4-ounce) package cellophane noodles
1 1/2 cups mung bean sprouts
1 cup packed basil leaves
1 cup packed cilantro leaves
Hot chili sauce for serving

Method

Freeze steak until just firmed on the outside, 30 to 40 minutes (this will make it easy to cut thin slices). Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine broth, ginger, garlic and star anise. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer, covered, 20 minutes. Strain, discard solids, and return broth to pot. Stir in vinegar, sugar and mushrooms and simmer, covered, 10 minutes. Bring to a boil before pouring over beef.

Place noodles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Let soak until very tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and divide the noodles between 4 large soup bowls. Remove steak from freezer and slice it as thinly as possible against the grain. Divide the steak between the bowls. Ladle boiling broth and mushrooms over the beef and garnish each bowl with bean sprouts, basil and cilantro. Serve with hot chili sauce on the side.

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