Tuesday, February 24

Chicken Phở

A comforting bowl of Vietnamese chicken noodle soup with tons of fresh garnishes

Chicken Pho Smitten Kitchen Slanted Door

It's been so warm in L.A. this winter that I was actually thrilled to see that rain was in the forecast for the weekend. We were busy celebrating my husband's birthday on Friday and Saturday, but we cleared all plans on Sunday to enjoy a lazy rainy day at home. Making pho is the ideal activity for such days because the broth needs to simmer for a few hours but the actual active cooking time is very minimal. This recipe comes from The Slanted Door (a renowned Vietnamese restaurant in San Francisco) by way of Smitten Kitchen. Most of the steps and ingredients center around a deeply rich and flavorful chicken broth, which is the backbone of the soup. The broth, shredded chicken, and rice noodles are the only mandatory ingredients in the pho, but it's all about the garnishes. The point is to load up on the garnishes as you eat your way through the soup to preserve the contrast in texture, freshness, and flavor. I personally added in sliced jalapeño, fresh cilantro, fried shallots, and lime juice but included other suggestions below. Have fun personalizing the pho to your tastes and making perfect bites as you go along.

Note: This is a great recipe to make in two steps. The broth can be prepped a day or more ahead of time and stored in the fridge for about a week or the freezer for a couple months. It will be even better to skim the fat off the cold broth.

Related Recipes:
- Lazy Pho with Bok Choy
- Tom Kha Gai Soup
- Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Phở:
- 3 lb. chicken wings, backs, or bones
- 2 large bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
- 12 oz. rice noodles
- 2 onions, unpeeled and quartered
- 1 knob of ginger, sliced 1/2" thick
- 1/4 c. fish sauce
- 1 tbsp. salt
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 2 star anise (optional)
- 2 cardamom pods (optional)
- 4 cloves (optional)
- 4 large shallots, peeled, thinly sliced, and separated into rings
- canola oil, for frying
- garnishes, such as: lime wedges, sliced jalapeños, cilantro, basil, bean sprouts, sriracha, hoisin sauce

  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Place the ginger and onions on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes until a bit charred. Or grill or char them over an open flame.
  • Place the onions, ginger, chicken wings, chicken breasts, salt, sugar, star anise, cardamom, cloves, and about 4 qts. of water in a large pot.
  • Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, and cook for 30 minutes, or until the chicken breasts are cooked through.
  • Remove the chicken breasts and allow to cool while the stock continues to simmer.
  • Shred the breasts, reserving the skin and bones, and transfer the meat to the fridge.
  • Add the skin and bones back to the stock and simmer for another 2 hours.
  • Strain the stock through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth and wipe out the pot. Return the broth to the pot, skim any fat off the top, and add in the fish sauce.
  • In a small deep skillet, add in the canola oil to come up about 3/4" and fry the shallots over high heat for 5 minutes, stirring often, until brown and crunchy. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Meanwhile, cook the rice noodles in boiling water according to package instructions.
  • Divide the noodle among 6 bowls and then top each bowl with some shredded chicken. Ladle the hot broth on top and serve with fried shallots and other garnishes.

Serves six