1 large onion, peeled and cut in half
1 inch fresh ginger, sliced
3 whole cloves
1 clove star anise
1 small cinnamon stick
8 cup beef stock
8 oz vermicelli rice noodles, cooked following package instructions
12 oz raw beef flank, thinly sliced
2 cup bean sprouts, washed
½ cup whole Thai or Italian basil leaves
1 lime, quartered
1 Sriracha sauce
1. For the broth, heat a soup pot on high heat. Sear the onion, flat-side down until dark brown, turning occasionally (this will add a smokiness to the broth). Add the ginger, spices and beef stock and bring up to a simmer. Simmer, loosely covered, for 15 minutes. Strain and return the broth to a simmer.
2. While soup is simmering, arrange assembly ingredients on plates or a platter.
1. To assemble, place about a cup of hot rice noodles in each bowl (immerse cooked noodles into a pot of simmering water, or the broth, to heat). Arrange slices of beef flank over the noodles and ladle 2 cups of simmering broth into each bowl, pouring over the beef. Let everyone garnish their own soup with the bean sprouts, basil (torn into the bowl), lime juice, hoisin and Siracha (watch out the Siracha gets really hot by the time you reach the bottom of the bowl!)