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Easy Chicken Pho

I must admit, we are not experts on pho and have really only had it a few times.  Once it turns cold, we are a bit obsessed with soups and we are constantly trying new recipes.  I looked up several pho recipes to get some ideas of what others use when making this traditional Vietnamese soup and there were many variations of spices added.  I opted for a simpler version with fewer ingredients to make it easier to replicate at home without having to buy all new spices.  I left out the fresh grated ginger, but you could easily add it in with the onions and garlic.  Many recipes I saw also contained fish sauce and while I’m fine eating fish sauce in many dishes in restaurants, I have not been able to cook with it myself without only tasting the fish sauce!  So again, if you are a lover of the fish sauce, add it in small amounts!

Since the broth is a big component of this soup, we decided to make our first ever homemade chicken broth.  We took a shortcut and used the carcass with skin and dark meat of our favorite Costco rotisserie chicken.  We pulled off the white meat (around 7 cups), then placed the carcass in the crock pot and tossed in 2 rough-chopped carrots, celery, onion, garlic and fresh thyme and parsley (only because I already had some).  Fill with water and cook on low for 6 hours.  

pho3

This made the most delicious chicken broth I’ve ever tasted! Really made me rethink all the store bought chicken broth I’ve used in the past.  We made our broth on a Sunday so I could easily throw the soup together on a Monday night.  I am sure this soup would be equally delicious with store bought broth or stock, but you will already have a rotisserie chicken for this recipe, so give it a try!  The great thing about making broth is you can really throw just about anything in it.  Some people don’t put any veggies in with the carcass, they just allow the chicken to provide all the flavoring.  Also, look up all the health benefits of homemade broth.  I’ve been reading up on it and will be making beef bone broth next week, stay tuned.

Last note of personal preference on this recipe:  traditionally, pho is served with a side of bean sprouts, cilantro, Thai basil, green onions, jalapeno and/or lime wedges.  We preferred to add the thinly sliced jalapenos and green onions into the stock pot after adding the noodles and chicken.  They still had a nice crunch, but seasoned the soup a little more.  I did not add Thai basil to the list of ingredients below since it is a little difficult to find in some areas, but certainly add it if you’d like.  We then topped our pho with cilantro and a squeeze of lime.  

Easy Chicken Pho
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Broth
  1. 1 rotisserie chicken (pull off white and dark meat if using)
  2. Any amount of rough chopped carrots, celery, onion, garlic
  3. A few sprigs of fresh thyme and/or parsley (optional)
  4. Salt and pepper
  5. Water
Pho
  1. 12 cups of chicken broth or stock
  2. 5-7 cups of rotisserie chicken
  3. 1 onion, sliced thin
  4. 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  5. 1 TB olive or canola oil
  6. 2 TB hoisin sauce
  7. 1-2 t sriracha sauce
  8. 8 oz rice noodles
  9. Garnish with 2 cups bean sprouts, cilantro, 2 thinly sliced jalapenos, green onions and lime wedges
For the Broth
  1. 1. Pull off all desired meat and place remaining carcass with skin in a large crock pot.
  2. 2. Toss in any veggies, herbs, salt and pepper.
  3. 3. Fill with water to the top of the crock pot and cover. Cook on low for 6 hours.
  4. 4. Let cool, then strain broth through a fine mesh strainer and reserve for soup or eat it alone.
For the Pho
  1. 1. Using very hot tap water, fill a large bowl and soak rice noodles for 20 minutes.
  2. 2. In a medium stock pot over medium heat, add oil, thinly sliced onions and minced garlic. Cook for 7-10 minutes stirring frequently to prevent garlic from burning.
  3. 3. Add broth, hoisin sauce and sriracha sauce and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. 4. Drain noodles and add to broth with chicken and cover for another 10 minutes to ensure noodles are cooked and chicken is warmed. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. 5. Place a pinch of bean sprouts in a bottom of a bowl and ladle hot soup over top. Garnish with green onions, cilantro, jalapeno and a lime wedge. Enjoy!
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