Pho: (Pronounced: Fuh) A Vietnamese noodle soup, typically made with beef broth and thin rice noodles, usually garnished with basil, bean sprouts, and lime.
I was dithering back and forth about posting this recipe, as I was worried that it might sound fancy, complicated or inaccessible. And while I like to cook fancy food from time to time, ultimately I want my recipes to be accessible. I want to post things that you want to cook.
The thing I want to stress about this recipe is that it only sounds complicated. It really isn’t! The whole idea to make duck pho came about when I saw a recipe for Turkey Pho (made with Thanksgiving leftovers! Genius!). As I mentioned in my last post, since I didn’t roast a turkey this year, I decided to roast a duck. In all actuality, my wonderful husband roasted the duck while I was at the gym. Let me tell you, coming home to roast duck (prepared by the person you love) is a really great thing.
So, we ate the roast duck (and holy smokes, it was good) and when we were finished, we had a whole duck carcass on our hands. We had no choice but to make duck stock! And since we made duck stock, making duck pho seemed to be the next logical step. So that’s just what we did.
For the record, this recipe could easily be made with chicken or turkey. I happened to roast a duck, hence why I made this pho with duck. I don’t often roast ducks (read: this was the first time), but I do roast chickens relatively frequently, so I see a lot of chicken pho in my future. I’ve always thought of chicken pho as a better version of chicken noodle soup. In fact, whenever I’m not feeling well, all I really want to eat is pho. I’m not sure why I’ve never attempted to make it until now, I think I always assumed it was really complicated. All it requires is a bit of time to make the stock (which can simmer away while you do other things, like decorate your Christmas tree! Which is exactly what I did.), and a few key Asian pantry ingredients.
Making pho a great way to use up leftovers (whether it be duck, turkey, chicken, etc), and it’s the perfect rainy day meal. I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but we get a lot of rainy days in Portland. ;) But pho is the perfect remedy for rain: it fills the belly, warms the insides, and clears your head.
(Adapted from Serious Eats)
Leftovers from 1 roast duck (i.e., 1 duck carcass, wings and legs included)
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, smashed
6 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
3 star anise pods
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
6 sprigs fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 dried shittake mushrooms
Salt, to taste
Thin rice noodles
Green onion, sliced thinly
1-2 jalapenos, sliced thinly (seeds included)
Cilantro (and/or Thai basil)
Remove any leftover meat from the duck, set aside for use in the pho.
To make duck stock (pho soup base): Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large stock pot. Cook the onion, until starting to brown, 5 minutes or so. Add in duck bones, and fill the pot with cold water. Add in star anise, cinnamon, coriander, cloves, cilantro sprigs, garlic, and shitaake. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and allow the stock to simmer for 1-2 hours.
Strain the stock into another pot. Add in fish sauce, salt, and ground pepper to taste. Start with the addition of fish sauce, and add salt afterwards if needed (fish sauce is very salty). If serving pho immediately after making stock, allow stock to simmer over low heat on the stove. Add in duck meat and sliced green onions, and allow to cook in the broth for a few minutes before serving.
To assemble pho: Cook rice noodles according to the package directions. Drain, and place an equal amount of rice noodles in each bowl (I made 4 servings) and pour the hot broth (with duck meat and green onions) over the noodles. Garnish with bean sprouts, lime wedges, jalapeno slices, cilantro, Thai basil, and a hefty dose of Sriracha.
Note: I had about a quart of duck stock leftover after 4 large servings of pho were consumed.