Hello everyone! Sorry it’s been awhile…
So now that the weather is getting cool again AND I saw chicken on sale I decided it’s time to make Chicken Pho again! The key to good Chicken Pho is good broth. The key to good broth is good chicken. Now how can we ensure we get good chicken? WE CAN’T! The only thing you can do is try to buy it as fresh as possible and that’s why I like Foster Farms chicken. They are not frozen or pumped with salt, at least that’s what the commercials say! 😛 Or of course you can go buy a freshly killed chicken if you have the means to. 😛 After you hopefully get some good, fresh chicken the key is to simmer the broth for as long as you can to get the flavor out of the bones. And voila, you have tasty chicken broth that can now be turned into Pho! So, here’s the way I’ve learned from my mom. The somewhat easy way to do it I think. Here goes!
If I’m going through the trouble of making broth I just make a HUGE pot of it all at once since I don’t like to deal with raw meat that much. So you fill your pot a little under two thirds full.
Bring the water to a boil and then put in salt and sugar…
Put in the onion…
Put in the meat. I use 2 trays for a huge pot. Most of you will have a pot half the size and you just need one tray. Usually I like to use chicken breasts since it’s the healthiest but you get sweeter broth with dark meat and this time it was on sale so I went with thighs and drumsticks. If you have the time and patience to remove the skin from the chicken when it’s raw then it will make your broth less fatty. If you’d rather do it after it’s cooked you can do that also. You can then skim the fat off or leave it if you like it that way. This time around my water was boiling and I had a daughter who needed to get down for a nap so I removed half of the skin and threw in the rest.
Bring the water back to a boil and boil for 30 minutes.
Turn off heat, skim fat and let sit without heat for at least another 30 minutes. This will help cook the chicken through but not overcook it because you don’t want to serve mushy chicken with your Pho. If chicken is not cooked through then boil some more. Remove chicken and remove skin and meat and set aside. Taste the broth to see if it is good enough. If not add more salt and sugar to taste.
Place bones back in broth and bring to boil. Then simmer for as long as you have time for. The longer the broth simmers the more flavor you get. (Sorry, I took this pic after I had taken at least 6 cups of broth out to make chicken soup. So, no, that much broth did not evaporate in the simmering process!)
Now you can throw in the herbs that make the broth Pho. Unfortunately, I don’t know the exact things in the package I use but I think they are star anise, cinnamon stick, cloves, coriander seed, and fennel seed. The ingredients on the back don’t help because they only list 3 ingredients but there are at least 5 in the package!
Skim the broth as much as you can if you want to remove the fat. And, now the broth is ready to go! (If I had not taken out broth to make chicken soup there would have been half a pot of Pho broth.) The spices are in the white bag that came with the package. You can throw the spices directly into the broth but then you’d have to remove it all so the bag comes in handy!
I live in good ole So. Cal. where a large population of Vietnamese live so we have access to fresh Pho noodles so I always use that since they taste much better. But if you don’t, you can use the dry Pho noodles.
To cook the fresh noodles you just need to bring a pot of water to a boil and then stir in the noodles for less than 10 seconds so they don’t get too soggy. If you use the dry noodles you’ll need to soak them a good half hour and then cook them which may take a little longer to get soft. I’ve only done it once so am not an expert on the dry noodles.
If you decide to give it a try let me know how it worked for you!
Here’s the recipe for a pot half the size of mine…
Chicken Pho (North Vietnamese Style)
1 tray of chicken
3 tablespoons of salt
3 tablespoons of sugar
1 large onion
Garnish with thinly sliced red onions, cilantro, bean sprouts, chopped green onions and fresh lime juice.