We adore Pho; it’s just a fact of life. We can’t think of a weeknight recipe we like to make more. Pho can be vegetarian, like the preserved lemon recipe below, and it is light enough to be a great starter at your next dinner party. The greatest thing about Pho? You can add whatever toppings you’d like at the end: jalapenos, cilantro, shredded chicken, sriracha. The possibilities are endless….
2 pounds Chicken Breast
2 teaspoons Chinese Five Spice
1 ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon Sugar
6 cups Chicken Stock
2 inches fresh Lemongrass, crushed with knife
2 inches fresh Ginger, peeled and sliced
1 Bay Leaf
8-1o ounces Vermicelli Rice Noodles
¼ cup Fish Sauce
2 tablespoons fresh Lime Juice
Thai Basil, for garnish
Mung Bean Sprouts, for garnish
1 Jalapeno, sliced, for garnish
Lime wedges, for garnish
Cilantro, for garnish
Hoisin Sauce, optional, for garnish
Chili Oil, optional, for garnish
Stir together the Chinese five spice, salt, and sugar. Season the chicken with this mixture and let marinate for 20 minutes.
Place the chicken in a stock pot with the lemongrass and ginger. Add the chicken stock, ensuring the chicken is covered by at least 1 inch. Bring to a simmer and gently poach the chicken for 15-20 minutes. The chicken should be at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit internally.
Place the chicken in a bowl and shred. Cover and refrigerate. Strain the stock into a clean sauce pan. Bring to a simmer. Simmer the broth, covered, for 20-30 more minutes to concentrate the flavor. Add the shredded chicken back into the stock to re-heat. Remove from heat and stir in fish sauce and lime juice.
Just before the stock is finished cooking, cook the rice noodles according to the package instructions. Divide the noodles into serving bowls. Divide the shredded chicken into the bowls over the noodles. Garnish with bean sprouts, Thai basil, jalapenos, and cilantro as desired. Spoon the hot broth into the bowls and serve with hoisin sauce and chili oil.
Preserved Lemon Pho:
1 star anise
1/8 cup chopped preserved ‘Pernod’ lemons
*Preserving lemons in alcohol is easier than canning! All you do is combine sliced lemons with Pernod Classic and a sprinkle of salt, and set in a jar! Shake every so often and store in a cool place
2 cinnamon sticks
¼ cup of gresh ginger, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 medium onion, cut in half
1 pound celery
1 pound carrots
3 whole garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
1 lb tomatoes, cored
Handful of black pepper
Handful of parsley, chopped
1 heaping tbs of salt
2 tbs of olive oil
Toss vegetables (carrots, celery, tomatoes) in the olive oil, and toast at 400 degrees. This is a slow and steady process that will allow vegetables to caramelize and deepen the flavor for the broth. Stir every 10 minutes. This will take about 90 minutes.
Put the roasted vegetables along with the remainder of ingredients into a large pot and bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook for another 30 minutes. Pour through a colander, and save the broth.
Chop up the onion in small pieces, and saute in 2 tbs of butter, and a teaspoon of salt. Continue to stir for 30 minutes. Then, add 1/4 cup of Pernod Classic. Not only will this deglaze the pan, but add a rich fennel flavor to your onions. Add these to the finished broth for a rich addition to the soup, which will be balanced out by the crisp vegetables.
4 scallions thinly sliced
1 serrano pepper thinly sliced
Cilantro or thai basil, chopped
Bean or alfalfa sprouts
1 lime, cut into wedges
3 radishes, thinly sliced
Cook a pound of Vietnamese rice noodles in salted water as directed on the package.
Divide broth and noodles into bowls, and have your guests garnish their own.
This recipe is for a light vegetable pho, but if you’re making a chicken, fish, or any other meat pho, add your cooked meat to your broth. An easy method for adding chicken is getting a unique flavored rotisserie one, shredding the meat, and adding to broth!