The rice vermicelli soup pho is a staple all over Vietnam and this spicy beef version is the specialty of Hanoi. At home in Connecticut, Marcia Kiesel often eats it for breakfast, as the Vietnamese do. "It's a perfect meal and an invigorating way to start the day," she says. She's tried innumerable phos but considers the recipe from Binh Duong, her co-author on Simple Art of Vietnamese Cooking, to be the best. Inspired by the pho served at Ana Mandara and the Hideaway, she tweaks Duong's recipe by adding an escarole garnish.
This was all I ever wanted to eat growing up, and I still crave it more than I care to admit. This Eastern European cabbage soup is really more of a schi than a borscht, but why quibble over names? In America in the '60s, unless you were Russian, this was borscht. Funny how that works. It's a meal in a bowl to be sure, but small portions are a great starter. I have been making this for decades; it's a battle-tested classic. –Andrew Zimmern
Traditionally, this soup would be made with cubes of beef, but when you want a quick weeknight dinner, who can wait for meat to braise? We use ground beef instead. If you like your soup spicy, substitute hot paprika for some of the sweet paprika here.