Pho - Vietnamese Soup

Pho - Vietnamese Soup
One of our favorite dishes - Pho

Friday, July 22, 2011

Pho Ga or Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup

Our signature dish is most certainly pho.  Typically we make our pho with beef, but we also like to switch it up and sometimes we make it with shrimp.  Last weekend we tried something different and we made another version with some leftover, roasted chicken and this recipe was another keeper.  We also had some leftover grilled corn that we added to this already flavorful soup.  The beauty of pho is you can add just about anything you want.  This recipe is a healthier rendition and it got 5 thumbs up from the McQuaid clan.

The perfect accompaniment to pho are shrimp spring rolls we serve with a peanut sauce.  So fresh and delicious they get gobbled up in no time. 

Spring Rolls

1 stewing hen, about 5 pounds
2 lbs chicken bones or chicken necks
4 quarts cold water
1 small onion, quartered

2 carrots, cut into chunks
2 ribs of celery, cut into chunks
1 oz fresh ginger, crushed
4 cloves of garlic, smashed

12 whole cloves
12 whole peppercorns
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp salt
chicken bouillon cubes

1/2 lb rice stick
1 whole cooked chicken breast (2 halves), thinly sliced
1 large red onion, thinly sliced

8 to 12 fresh cilantro sprigs, for garnishing soup
4 to 8 fresh basil sprigs, for garnishing soup
4 fresh mint sprigs, for garnishing soup
2 cups fresh bean sprouts, for garnishing soup
2 limes, cut into wedges, for garnishing soup
2 to 3 sliced fresh jalapeno, Serrano, or Thai chile peppers, for garnishing soup
Sriracha chili sauce, for serving
Fish sauce, for serving

Soy sauce, for serving

Cut the hen into 8 pieces and discard any excess fat. Rinse chicken bones and necks with cold water and place in a stockpot. Add the water, onion, carrots, celery, ginger, garlic, cloves, peppercorns and cinnamon and bring to a boil. Skim any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for 3 hours; do not allow the liquid to boil to ensure a clear broth.

Remove and discard the hen and bones. Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve or chinois lined with cheesecloth. Return the broth to a large soup pot and continue to simmer until reduced to a volume of 2 1/2 or 3 quarts. Season with salt and bouillon, to taste, and keep hot while you assemble the remaining ingredients.

Prepare the rice stick by placing it in a pot of boiling water; boil for 4 minutes. Once done, transfer to a colander and drain well. Rinse well under cold running water. Drain thoroughly before using.

When ready to serve the soup, for each serving ladle 2 cups of the hot broth into a large soup bowl. Quickly dip the cooked noodles in the remaining hot broth to rewarm, then place a handful of noodles in each bowl. Divide the sliced chicken breast and onion slices between the bowls, laying the slices over the top of the noodles. Serve the soup immediately, with the fresh cilantro, basil, mint, bean sprouts, lime wedges and jalapeno peppers in baskets or on a big plate on the table for each person to garnish their own soup, as desired. Add chili sauce, soy sauce and/or fish sauce, to taste, if desired.

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