Oh oh oh….it’s Pho…
Actually, it should be “Uh, uh, uh…it’s Pho”.
Am I pronouncing that right? I’ve heard it sounds like “fuh” as in, “fuhhh-get about it”, or “FUnyons”. Right?
Anyway, I love love LOVE this Vietnamese tricked out, flavor-packed, cure-what-ails-you, chicken-soup. If you make this healing broth from scratch, there are strange, frightening animal bones involved. I’m not afraid of any of that stuff, but this recipe skips all that and makes a sort of “semi-PHOmade” version. (Get your Pho puns ~ your PHUNS ~ right here, y’all)
Like I said, I’m not afraid to go and get a calf’s foot ~ I’m really not. But this is so much easier, and I personally think the flavor is still on point.
I added ZOODLES instead of rice noodles! WHAAAA? Brilliant. I felt so good after eating this.
Looks like healing. Warmth. Enjoyment. A great way to spice up a boring week night.
So, here’s what I did!
CHICKEN ZOODLE PHO
The first step is to make the glorious broth…
BROTH OF THE GODS: Spend a lazy Sunday afternoon making this huge broth in bulk. Put it in your freezer in individual ziplock bags, and you will have the most versatile base for any meal. By itself it’s a quick meal replacement if you need a little protein, a great way to warm up on a cold day, and an amazingly-filling dinner in less than 30 minutes.
Instead of making the bone broth from scratch, we are just going to use boxed bone broth. There is also frozen bone broth that is more natural and healthy, but whatever you can get your hands on. If you haven’t tried bone broth, this is a great way to try it!
- chicken bone broth (I used two boxes)
- 4-6 cups water
- 1-2 pounds bone-in chicken pieces, with or without the skin (later, you can pop these chicken pieces in the oven and can crisp up the skins ~ it’s amazing).
- one large onion, washed, unpeeled and quartered
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- 3 whole star anise flowers
- a large piece of ginger (about 2 inches)
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablespoon fish sauce
- black whole peppercorns (optional)
Place all of the ingredients in a large stock pot and bring to a boil. Once it boils, reduce down to low, partially covered, and allow to cook for as long as you want. (Mine simmered for 3 hours on the stove. Made the whole house smell like heaven while I was teaching voice lessons.)
Fish your chicken out of the broth (ha ha ~ fish…chicken), spray with natural cooking spray, top with a little salt, and pop it in a 400 degree oven, to crisp up those skins. Should take only about 10-15 minutes, but just watch it.
Allow your soup to cool, which takes a LONG time. But make sure you don’t put the soup into plastic bags until it is completely cooled. Once cooled, skim as much of that collected fat off the top of the broth as you can. This step will give you a clearer broth.
Strain the whole pot of broth, and pour into small ziplock bags ~ mine hold 2 cups of broth each. I can just take out a bag from the freezer, pop it in a bowl of hot tap water (not the microwave!) allow to melt a little and separate from the ziplock, then cut away the ziplock and heat up the block of broth on the stove. It should only take a few minutes to get the soup back up to snuff. Faster than delivery from your local Vietnamese restaurant, I guarantee!
And what if you don’t have a Vietnamese restaurant in your town at all? Well you REALLY need this then!
Don’t let your life go by without Pho!
Here’s what goes IN this delicious Pho, should you choose to make a meal out of it:
- Pull the skin off that chicken and use every bit of the meat you possibly can ~ it is truly delicious chicken. You would think all the flavor and tenderness had been cooked out in that 3-hour bath it took earlier, but it only got MORE tender and MORE flavorful. I also stood over the sink and ate one whole piece, skin and all. Like candy…and I never say that about chicken.
- ZOODLES!!! Add these last ~ they don’t need any cooking at all, and you can just use a vegetable peeler to make long strips of zucchini if you don’t have a fancy spiralizer like all the cool kids do. You can also use rice noodles, of course.
- Other amazing additions: sliced red chilis, Thai basil (or regular basil mixed with mint), cilantro, lime juice, chopped green onions, bean sprouts…
This version has all that incredible pulled chicken, zoodles, green onions, cilantro, lime juice, and a hot Asian chili powder I made myself and sprinkled on top at the end. It’s almost too hot to use, but I’m addicted to it. Sometimes you gotta have a little pain to have a little pleasure (thank you, high school philosophy class).
Now listen, if you are Vietnamese, or you are a purist when it comes to Pho, this picture might give you the night sweats. But never fear! You can make this look exactly like Pho is supposed to look! With the exact same, perfect ingredients that have always been used. But I’m telling you, the broth is ready for you to build your own dreamy, experimental Pho. In the privacy of your own home, you can add ANYTHING. YOU. WANT.
Dinner tonight is a Thai dish called LAAB. Recipe coming SOOOOOON!