There are many ways to utilize beaver, such as cooking the silky meat in homemade broth
Pho can be intimidating, with its savory, mysterious flavors and long prep time. Beavers can be an equally intimidating culinary endeavor, given the lack of solid cooking advice out there.
You might be surprised to find that beaver pho isn’t that hard. Essentially, it is a stew that combines roasted vegetables, broth, and super thin, tender meat into one pot. You’re going for fatty, smoky, savory, with a hint of tang and a lot of umami. The big secrets are time and practice.
Don’t expect to be a pho superstar right away. This simplified recipe will scratch that pho itch and will help you make sure you’re using most of the animals you take during trapping season.
Spice-wise, the essentials are star anise, cinnamon sticks, cloves, onions, and garlic. These flavor combinations are not that foreign to western palettes, it’s just that we tend to associate them with Christmas hams or holiday-centric sweets. The great news is that these spices pair well with the unique flavor of beaver.
The method is simple. Brown your vegetables and meat in a pot, add water and bones for your broth (or use a premade broth), then simmer the rest of the ingredients alongside. Time is the key ingredient here and if you’re making your own broth, I recommend using shanks or other bones that have connective tissue and collagen in them. This will help the soup have that silky, fortifying mouth feel.
Sear some of the meat to add to the dish and cook your noodles. Whip it up with some classic toppings, like bean sprouts, jalapeno, and basil and you’ll soon find your pho dreams coming true.
Did I mention that I love bean sprouts?
Beaver PhoGilbert Randolph
- 1-2 lbs beaver flank
- 4 qts water or
- 3 qts pre-made broth
- Bones (if making your own)
- 6-8 cloves garlic
- 5-6 star anise pods
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/2 stick butter
- 1 onion
- 3 celery stalks
- 3 whole carrots
- 4-5 large mushrooms
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Rice noodles
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Garlic powder
- Bean sprouts
- Sliced, fresh jalapenos
- Fresh basil
- Fresh cilantro
- Fresh-squeezed limes
- Pickled Daikon radish as a side
- Cut whole onion in half and peel garlic. In a large stockpot, char the onion and garlic in oil or lard. (Optional: you may also choose to sear the meat in the pot as well, though it’s not necessary)
- If using shanks or other cuts with meat on the bone for the broth, brown them as well. Cover with water.
- Add celery, carrots, mushrooms, spices, rice wine vinegar, and the butter or lard. Bring to a boil.
- Simmer for at least 1 hour and reduce from 4 quarts to about 2 quarts. If using pre-made broth, you can reduce from 3 quarts to 2 and the cooking time will be reduced.
- Strain the broth by either pouring into another pot or by scooping out the bones and vegetables with a slotted spoon.
- Bring back to a boil and add in the rice noodles.
- Once the noodles are cooked, serve with meat and desired garnishments.
How to prepare and cook beaver meat
- Remove any fat, connective tissue, and membrane from the meat. Pound with a tenderizer.
- Season meat with salt, pepper, and garlic. Let sit for 10-30 minutes.
- In a cast-iron skillet, sear in butter over medium-high heat.
- Add to soup once finished to desired temperature.