Things I Learned: Crock Pot Pho

 

pho1

Lately I have become more and more obsessed with recycling.  I have gone so far as to bring my plastic trash home from work to recycle it.  Something about doing this gives me a feeling of satisfaction that I am doing the right thing.  So, the natural progression would be recycling my food… right?

About once a month I roast a chicken for dinner. It is delicious and simple.  I had never given much thought to throwing away the non-meat parts, until lately.  Last week’s chicken carcass was stashed in the freezer, now what?  I wish my grandma were around to give me some pointers on this venture, she would have had some great ideas.  My grandparents were great recyclers saving cans for a few bucks, keeping a compost pile, and canning food for using later.  These are lessons I should have learned earlier, but I guess we come around to things in our own time. 

Last week my husband found this video and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my chicken.  In the video they are making beef pho, but why not chicken?  A simple Google search provided me with countless options.  What I eventually decided on was a loose interpretation of this recipe from Bon Appetit combined with some of the hints in the video.  So for those of you looking for a recipe with exact measurements, I give you this…

recipememe

Next stop, Asian grocery. I had the good fortune to bump into some friends there who helped me out with a few hints.

What I used:

  • Chicken carcass
  • Water
  • onion (I used 3 types of onion,2  yellow, green and fried onion)
  • one boneless skinless chicken breast thinly sliced
  • cilantro
  • Thai basil
  • Pho seasoning packet (next time I plan use a spice packet with spices from my cabinet I feel like this packet did not give enough flavor for my taste)
  • fresh rice noodles (you could use dried ones, but the fresh ones cook up super quick)
  • Bean sprouts
  • jalapeno pepper
  • Salt and Sugar to taste
  • Hoisin and sriracha

What I did:

  • Into large crock pot: chicken carcass, 1 whole onion pealed and about 1/2 bunch of cilantro
  • Add water to the top
  • Cook on low ( I cooked for about 12 hours overnight)

So what I did next was add some salt, sugar and the spice packet and cook for another hour or so in the crock pot.  I would not recommend doing this, since it did not impart much flavor into the broth, I ended up adding another spice packet later as you will see.  I will just skip this all together next time.

  • So the next step would be to strain through cheese cloth.  But why is this stuff so expensive? And single use?  I used a tea towel lined strainer and it worked just fine.

What I had left was 12 cups of golden delicious chicken broth.

broth

I stashed it in the fridge until dinner time and skimmed off most (but not all) of the fat from the top.  If you plan to use it right away, dropping an ice cube into the broth will make the skimming task easier.

When you are ready to eat:

You will need 2 pots for this, I would not recommend cooking the noodles or chicken in the broth.

  • Heat a large pot with boiling water
  • chop the garnishes and place on a plate on the side- this can be done ahead

garnish

  • use another small pot to heat the broth to a rolling boil (this is the step where I would add the seasoning packet and salt and pepper to taste)
  • while that is boiling, add the chicken to the boiling water and boil for a few minutes until cooked (the thinner it is, the faster it cooks)
  • remove the chicken to your soup bowls
  • drop the noodles into the boiling water for just a few seconds then transfer into each soup bowl
  • carefully add the broth to each bowl and serve

What I learned:  I know why my grandmother did not give me many written recipes, now I know she probably didn’t use them. It is amazingly difficult to put down to paper what you are doing, when your are a “taste and add” kind of cook.  Those of you who cook a little off the cuff like me will understand, and enjoy your bowl of steaming Pho for the snowflake that it is.

Did you try this?  Let me know how it turned out.

pho2

 

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