Tendon was always one of my guilty pleasures, I used to get an extra order if it in pho regularly. After doing some research I found out that in reality it is actually very healthy for you. A hundred gram serving has to 36 g of protein in it which is higher than steak and it's 99% fat free. It's mostly collagen which is good for your hair, skin, joints and arguably every other part of your body. Im not claiming that this is some sort of miracle food but it is really tasty and hey if it as added benefits also, I'll take it.
What you'll need:
-1 1/2 Pounds Oxtail
-2 Pounds Neck Bone
-2 Pounds Shank Bone
-5 Pounds Beef Tendon
All the meat measurements can be adjusted to personal taste but this is what I have found to work well
-Shallow containers that fit easily in fridge or freezer
-Beef Pho Broth Base
-Pho Seasoning Bags
Optional: I use these to fine tune the flavor I like half way through cooking but are not absolutely nessesary
-Fish or Soy sauce
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Step 1: Lets Get Started
Make a soup base using the broth base and add green onions for some fresh flavor. Throw all the meat in the crock pot with a seasoning bag and let simmer on low for at least 12 hours, or until beat falls off bone.
Step 2: Lets Take All Those Pesky Bones Out
tongs and a slotted spoon or other such utensil make this work easy also a metal spoon becomes useful because of the clear noise it makes when it hits bone. Pay careful attention to the small bone discs. They can be easy to overlook. Use a latel to skim off all extra oil and when its down to the last bits use a paper towel, place it on the surface for just a moment then throw away the oil soaked towel, repeat till just about all the oil is gone. I take this time to taste the broth and see if it needs sriracha, hoisin or fish sauce. These are commonly used condiments for pho. Sriracha is to add spiciness, hoisin is to make it more sweet, and fish sauce is to make it more salty. Soy sauce can be used to add salt to but be aware that a little goes a long way and its better to leave it under seasoned then over.
Step 3: TENDON TIME
Once the mixture glistens like a unicorn on a warm summers day ride then get out the tendon. This isnt its prettiest moment but don't worry this caterpillar still has a couple tricks up its sleeve. Blanch the tendon by throwing it in boiling water for a minute which will magically transform its consistency to that of a car tire as well as get rid of some of the gaminess. Use a SERRATED knife to cut the tendon in half, let the serrated edge do its job, don't force it. Be very careful not to cut yourself, it is difficult to cut and if you don't feel comfortable cutting it then you can use scissors or leave it whole. I cut mine down because it makes it easier to fit in the crock pot.
Step 4: Now Were Cooking With Wire
Throw the tendon in the crock pot add water as needed to cover most of the meat. Add chopped green onions, basil, and cilantro. Let cook for at least 5 hours and at times ill even go up to 12. Once its done cooking you should be able to cut it with your fingers. Skim off all oil like before.
Step 5: Get Out Your Containers
Take all the tendon and put it on a plate with as little liquid as possible. use a strainer to collect meat awesomeness and divide amongst containers.flatten out on the bottom of the containers. Blanch basil and green onion that's cut into 2 inch pieces and lay out the basil on top of the meat shtuff and save the onion for later. Its looking great.
Step 6: Almost There
Now Lay the tendon out in the containers neatly so that you don't disturb the layers, cover with onion. Pour remaining liquid, oil removed, over the top of the mixture and try to press out any air and cover the meat as much as possible. Seal the containers and put them in the fridge to chill.
Step 7: Booom Done
Open a beer to celebrate. Once the mixture is cooled it can be cut and eaten. I freeze the chopped up cubes and use them as needed or will throw a couple pieces in the fridge to thaw the night before. You can throw frozen pieces directly in soup but make sure you slice and separate it before freezing because its almost impossible to cut while frozen. Its delicious on rice or in soup like pho or in your mouth. The only sad part is now your spoiled and all other tendon will pale in comparison. ENJOY IT