With the wind-chill values hitting the negatives today I thought it would be a great time to break out the chicken soup recipes – I tend to think of Chicken Pho as a more elaborate, spiced version of chicken soup. My home-cooked Pho tends to be a more simplified take on the more traditional pho recipes with ingredients commonly found at the local supermarket (which in Vermont is fairly basic), and a few simple steps. The richness in Pho broth usually comes from the bone marrow, which is why beef Pho is so much richer then chicken Pho. It is also why for most chicken Pho recipes you cook the entire chicken. This makes some additional work, since you have to pick all of the cooked chicken meat off of the chicken carcass. One of the big bonus of cooking Pho is that it always makes the house smell wonderfully.
Ingredients for Pho Broth:
- 2 large boned Chicken breasts (if you have the time and energy you can use a whole chicken)
- 2 Onions
- 4 cloves of Garlic
- 3 large slices of Ginger
- 1 tbsp whole Black Pepper corns
- 2 sticks of Cinnamon
- 1 tbsp whole Coriander Seeds
- 1 tsp whole Cloves and 1 tbsp Anise Seeds (or 2 whole Star Anise Pods)
- 3 Cardamon Pods (these can be harder to find locally, so I usually do not use them, but they tend to be one of the more traditionally used spices in Pho. Instead I add 1/2 tsp ground cardamon)
Directions for the Broth:
- Fill a large stock pot 3/4 of the way with water.
- Add the chicken and salt, and set the pot on the stovetop under a medium heat to cook.
- In a hot cast-iron skillet toast all of the dry spices (Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Anise, Coriander, and Cardamon – you can swap around the spice combination to what suits you and your tastes best).
- Transfer the spices to the stock pot.
- In the hot cast-iron pan continue to char the ginger slices, cloves of garlic (skins still attached), and onions (cut in half or quarters, but with there skins attached).
- Place the onions, garlic, and ginger in the stock pot (skins included).
- Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer
- Allow the stock to continue to cook for a couple of hours.
- Remove the pot from the heat, and strain the broth through a colander.
- Remove the chicken from the colander.
- Remove the chicken from the bone and dice it up into bite sized pieces.
- Return the diced chicken to the broth.
- Reheat the broth before serving, and let everyone garnish their serving of broth individually.
Garnishes for the Pho:
- Rice Noodles
- Soy Bean Sprouts
- Green Herbs: Scallions, Cilantro, or Basil
- Lime wedges
- Hoisin Sauce
- Crispy Shallots (traditional, but another additional step that I usually do not bother with)