Thursday, April 3, 2008

Pho- Again...

I have this already blogged HERE but I took these pictures this week I thought forget it, I am posting, why not? I am only what... five posts behind? And well, the pictures, though not great photographs are taken, so here you go. Diva had been asking me for about a week now for Pho, so I made a huge pot, we had it twice and I put some broth in the freezer for fast meals. Pho is definitely a comfort food for me, my mom used to make it often when we were growing up. It's one of the rare foods that not only do we all like in this house but we love the leftovers too. Looking over the other post I made, this broth is made slightly differently, but I don't really follow directions well so nothing ever turns out the same around here.
Also I don't add palm sugar or rock sugar to my pho. We don't miss it.

1 Chicken - I used a Cornish game hen, since it's just us girls.
Beef bones- if you want, the girls and I like these.
2 Stalks of celery- I threw in a bit more this time.
2 whole carrots (I use baby carrots because my girls love to eat the cooked carrots)
1 Onion peeled
Chunk of fresh ginger - I had some in the freezer so I just threw it in there, I couldn't smash it
Star anise
1 whole cinnamon stick
2 Tbs whole black pepper corns
Coriander seeds
3 cloves of garlic smashed
2 Tbs fried shallots
2 Cartons low sodium chicken broth

Serve with-
Rice noodles (medium width)
Lime wedges
Thai Basil
Fresh Cilantro
Celery leaves
Hoisin Sauce
Fish Sauce
Chili paste
Thai bird Chilies
Sliced green onion

Soak your Pho noodles in a big bowl of cold water. I do this when I start the broth, so it's a good five hours.

Wash your chicken and beef bones and place in a large stock pot.

Add celery, onion, ginger and carrots. I didn't have big carrots so I didn't put them in, I just added my baby carrots for the girls later on.

In a spice ball, or coffee filter place your peppercorns, cinnamon stick, star anise, garlic...

and the fried shallots. I use this brand shown here. Close up the spice ball or tie up your coffee filter with twine- leave some room for expansion of the spices.

Cover the ingredients with either cartons of low sodium chicken broth or water. I used water this time.

Bring it to a boil over high heat, turn it to a low simmer and skim the top of the fat and ... well whatever that stuff is. Cover and let it simmer.

After about 45 minutes check your chicken, mine was done soon since it was a little hen. Remove it from the broth and let it cool. It's not going to be pretty, but it's OK, once it is cooled skin and debone it. Shred the meat by hand and set it aside.

Simmer your broth, covered, for another 3-4 hours. Or until dinner time. Keep skimming the top if needed.
I added my carrots about an hour before we ate, the girls like them soft. I didn't add salt to my broth, I usually don't because of the girls. I don't add MSG either.

Remove the spice ball, ginger and celery, discard.. I left the beef bones in there- the girls and I like them.

Prep your "garnishes", I used whatever garnishes I had on hand and it's slim pickin's in this little southern town. I had Thai basil, lime, sliced jalapeƱos and celery sticks for dipping in hoisin sauce, the girls love that.

Chop some cilantro and celery leaves.

To serve, dip your noodles into boiling water using a small sieve. .

It will take maybe 10 seconds, just watch it. The noodles get soft fast.

Drain and place in your bowl.

Add some shredded chicken, if you have some thin sliced raw beef now is the time to put it in your bowl, the hot broth will cook it to perfection.

Add some broth.

Garnish with sliced jalapeƱos, celery leaves, a squeeze of fresh lime juice and cilantro. (Most people also like green onions, and bean sprouts, not for me)

I added hoisin sauce, fish sauce, siracha, and some pho beef broth paste to my dish. Non to my girls, they don't need the sodium nor the MSG, OK neither do I but it's so good.
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