Pho - Vietnamese Soup

Pho - Vietnamese Soup
One of our favorite dishes - Pho

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thai Basil Chicken Soup with Asparagus and Mushroom Filled Crepes and Thai Basil Butter on Toasted Baguette

These recipes were all very interesting and a fresh combination of flavors.  It's worth going to the effort of making your own crepes, so that you can make them thin and light.  The store bought crepes are too thick.  Make sure the filling is good and cooled off before assembling the crepes, because they will fall apart if the mixture is the least bit warm. I often times make some of these recipes independent of each other.  


1 whole chicken, (about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds)
12 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems and caps separated, reserving caps for crepes
1 celery stalk, cut in half
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut in half
1 medium onion, skin removed and cut in half
1 lemongrass stalk, bruised
1 bunch fresh Thai basil, stems and leaves
1 TBSP smashed fresh ginger
1 red Thai chile split, seeded if no heat is desired
Peel of 1 lime
2 bay leaves
1 TBSP black peppercorns

Red finger chile, optional
1 1/2 TBSP sugar
1/4 cup fish sauce
Juice of 2 limes
Kosher salt
Leg meat, reserved from Thai Basil Chicken Broth
4 plum tomatoes, quartered, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch triangles
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced
1 bunch green onion, chopped
1 tsp sesame oil
1 lime, cut into quarters
Fresh Thai basil, stems and leaves
Asparagus and Mushroom Filled Crepes, recipe follows
Thai Basil Butter on Toasted Baguette, recipe follows


Egg Crepes
1/4 cup butter
1 TBSP finely minced fresh ginger
6 eggs
1/3 cup 2-percent milk
1 tsp sesame oil

3 TBSP vegetable oil
Shiitake mushroom caps, julienned (from Thai Basil Chicken Broth recipe)
3 TBSP vegetable oil
1 bunch asparagus, thick ends removed, spears blanched in salted water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 bunch fresh Thai basil, washed, rinsed and leaves picked
1 cup butter, melted on low heat and cooled
1/2 baguette, toasted and cut into 4 pieces

For the Thai basil chicken broth:

Place the chicken, mushrooms, celery, carrot, onion, lemongrass, Thai basil, ginger, Thai chile, lime peel, bay leaves, and peppercorns in a large pot. Cover with cold water, approximately 2 to 2 1/2 quarts. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer, uncovered. Skim the top, removing the impurities throughout the cooking process. Cook for 1 hour at a low simmer. Remove the chicken from the pot. Remove the leg meat, pull into pieces and reserve for soup garnishes. Remove the remaining chicken and reserve for personal use. Strain the stock into a clean pot.

For the Thai basil chicken soup garnishes: Bring the stock to a boil. Add the chile, if using, sugar, fish sauce, and lime juice. Season the mixture with salt. Add the pulled chicken meat, tomato, and cucumber. Serve the soup, piping hot, garnish with green onion, sesame oil, lime, and Thai basil.

To make Asparagus and Mushroom Filled Crepes:

For the egg crepes: Place 2 tablespoons of melted butter in a bowl. Add the ginger, eggs, milk, sesame oil, and salt, and whisk well. Heat a nonstick saute pan over medium heat. Dab a paper towel in the remaining melted butter and coat the pan. Ladle a thin layer of crepe batter in the pan, coating the bottom evenly. Once the batter begins to bubble in the middle, flip the crepe and cook for 3 to 5 seconds on the other side. Remove the crepe from the pan and lay on a dry kitchen towel. Repeat the process with the remaining crepe batter.

For the crepe filling and assembly: Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Saute the shiitake mushroom caps over the medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Season the mushrooms with salt, and pepper, set aside.

Place one crepe on the cutting board. Place 2 spears of asparagus lengthwise, on one end of the crepe. Place a single layer of shiitake mushrooms over the asparagus. Roll the crepe beginning at one end. Place another crepe on the cutting board and roll the finished crepe inside. Cut the crepe on a diagonal into 3 pieces.

To make Thai Basil Butter:

Place the Thai basil in a blender and pour the melted butter over. Pulse quickly until just incorporated, ensuring not to bruise the Thai basil. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, place in the freezer for 5 minutes. Remove the butter from the freezer and whisk the mixture until well incorporated, return the Thai basil butter to the freezer. Once the butter has solidified, approximately 5 minutes, whisk again.

Transfer the butter to a container and place in the refrigerator or freezer. Spread the Thai basil butter over the toasted baguette pieces.

*Recipe courtesy of Roger Mooking from the Cooking Channel.

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