This recipe, from "1001 Foods to Die For" (Andrews McMeel, $39.95), is adapted from Terry Durack's "Noodle."
2 pounds beef bones
1 gallon water
2 yellow onions, quartered, plus 1 yellow onion, very thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
2 (1-inch) pieces gingerroot
5 cardamom pods
3 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 pound beef brisket
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 pound fresh rice sheet noodles
8 ounces beef tenderloin or sirloin, frozen and sliced paper thin
4 scallions, finely chopped
White pepper for sprinkling
Put the bones in a large saucepan with the water, 1 quartered onion, salt, 1 piece of ginger, the cardamom pods, star anise and cinnamon. Broil the remaining quartered onion and ginger until skins are burnt, add to the broth, and bring to a boil. Skim off any froth that rises, add the brisket, bring to a boil, and skim again. Add the fish sauce and simmer for four hours.
Remove the brisket and slice half of it very thinly. Strain the broth into a bowl or saucepan. Cut the rice noodles into ½-inch strips and put in a large bowl. Cover with boiling water and soak for 20 seconds, gently separating noodles with a pair of chopsticks.
Drain and divide the noodles among six bowls along with three or four slices of brisket, raw steak, a few onion slices and chopped scallion. Bring the broth to a boil, ladle over the meat and noodles, and sprinkle with white pepper. Serve with lime wedges, chopped, fresh cilantro, and/or bean sprouts.