3kg beef bones with some meat attached, such as ribs or shanks
1 pound boneless beef chuck, in one piece
2 yellow onions, unpeeled, sliced
1 piece fresh ginger, about 3 inches long, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cinnamon stick, about 3 1/2 inches long
5 whole star anise pods
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
Vietnamese fish sauce
Soup garnish, additions and seasonings
500 gram boneless sirloin or other tender beef, trimmed of all excess fat
300 gram dried rice noodles,
300 gram ounces mung bean sprouts
3 ripe tomatoes cut in half lengthwise, then sliced
6 green onions, including green tops, thinly sliced
1 red or yellow onion, very thinly sliced, then cut into half rings
3 or 4 fresh green or red hot chilies, thinly sliced or chopped
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 cup fresh mint leaves or sprigs
1 cup fresh Asian basil leaves or sprigs
Bottled red chili sauce or chili garlic sauce
Lime or lemon wedges
To make the stock, rinse the bones and beef under cold running water and trim off excess fat.
In a large stockpot, combine the bones with water to cover. Place over medium heat, bring to a boil, and cook for 10 minutes. Drain. Add fresh cold water to cover by about 2 inches and return to a boil. Using a skimmer, remove any foamy scum that rises to the surface. Continue cooking until the foaming stops, about 15 minutes.
Add the beef chuck, onion slices, ginger, cinnamon stick, star anise, and peppercorns to the stock and reduce the heat so that the mixture barely simmers. Cover and simmer until the chuck is tender but not falling apart, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Remove the chuck and set aside to cool, then cover and refrigerate
overnight until needed. Season the stock lightly with salt or fish sauce and continue to simmer the stock until it is well flavored, 6-8 hours longer.
When the stock is ready, remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes.
Strain the slightly cooled stock through a sieve into the bowl, pressing against the onions and meat to release all of the liquid. Discard the bones and their meat, onions, and spices. Season the stock to taste
Refrigerate overnight. When the stock is well chilled, remove any fat that has solidified on the surface.
Rinse the raw beef under cold running water and pat dry. To facilitate slicing, wrap the beef in plastic wrap and place in a freezer until very cold but not frozen hard.
Transfer the stock to a large saucepan, place over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, cover, and keep warm while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
Prepare the noodles as directed and let stand in cold water until serving time.
Prepare and arrange as many of the additions and seasonings as you wish in the bowls.
To serve, drain the noodles and place alongside the simmering broth. Divide noodles, chuck, raw beef, and bean sprouts among large warmed soup bowls. Ladle the hot stock over the ingredients: it will quickly cook the raw beef slices. Serve immediately.