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Chicken-Based Broth for Pho

Chicken-Based Broth for Pho


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A spicy, richly flavored broth for pho soup.MORE+LESS-

6

cups chicken broth/stock

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  • 1

    Heat the canola oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.

  • 2

    Add the garlic, ginger and star anise and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes.

  • 3

    Add the broth/stock, soy sauce and sugar/honey.

  • 4

    Stir well, cover and reduce heat to low.

  • 5

    Cook for 30 minutes, undisturbed.

No nutrition information available for this recipe

More About This Recipe

  • Among noodle-soup lovers, pho, the classic Vietnamese soup, is hailed as a cure for whatever ails you.

    Its deeply flavored, rich broth typically simmers for hours, but that’s a tough job in the summer. I’ve figured out a way to make it quickly—and just as deliciously!

    Pho is really a soup for all seasons. Although it features hot broth, which we typically think of in winter and fall, it also calls for lots of crunchy vegetable and herb toppers, which are refreshing and cool for spring and summer. The traditional flavors in the broth are star anise, ginger and garlic. Common broth bases are chicken, fish or beef. In this recipe, I use a chicken base, which is mild enough to accommodate any protein addition. If you’re a vegetarian, use vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth.

    Pho also happens to be great for entertaining because guests can have fun customizing their bowls of pho. The basics for pho are broth and cooked rice vermicelli noodles (don’t be tempted to cook the noodles in the broth! It creates a starchy mess). But it’s the array of toppings that puts the whole concoction it over the top.

    First, make the broth.

    In a large soup pot, heat a tablespoon of vegetable or canola oil and add four cloves of garlic, chopped up, and a couple tablespoons of peeled, chopped fresh ginger. Cook this over medium heat, stirring a bit for just a minute, until very fragrant. Stir in six cups of reduced-sodium chicken broth, an eighth of a cup of soy sauce and a couple tablespoons of sugar. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.

    Strain the broth, discard the solids and return the broth to the pot.

    Make the noodles.

    In a separate pot, cook one pound of thin rice vermicelli according to the directions on the package. These noodles are available in Asian specialty stores or in the Asian foods section of most grocery stores. Rinse the noodles, drain them and, when you’re ready to sit down and eat, add them to the prepared broth.

    Add extras.

    If you like, add cooked meats, seafood or tofu to the noodle soup. Then layer on the standard pho toppings - any or all of the following: cilantro, Thai basil, fresh mung-bean sprouts, sliced jalapeño or other green chili, lime or lemon wedges and chili paste or Sriracha sauce.

    Dig in and slurp up—even this quickie pho is great-tasting and good for you!

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This Pho Recipe Is The Best You've Ever Tasted

First things first, folks: pho is pronounced "fuh", not "foe." Think of the first syllable of "fuhgeddaboudit" and you're already there. Pho is a traditional Vietnamese soup that is usually made with broth created by slow simmering multiple animal bones for hours on end. It's sometimes compared to ramen, though there are some significant different that really make pho stand out amongst the crowd. Tara Rylie, chef and writer behind Rylie Cakes, knows just about no one has time for that, though. That's why she says her pho recipe "is made with store bought bone broth and simmered with all the spices that create the same delicious flavor without the whole process."

Rylie says that she "finishes the pho off with fresh basil, jalapeños, bean sprouts, hoisin sauce, sriracha, and lime wedges." This means that all those hours saved doesn't sacrifice all that flavor. Note that, while preparing this recipe to the letter this recipe will create some mighty fine pho, you can also put your own spin on this classic dish, whether you need to sub out certain ingredients because of dietary needs or simply want to change up the flavor.


The art of making beef broth for Vietnamese Pho

Observe the general principles of making broth: use many bones, use a long time at low heat to simmer and in the beginning remove scum frequently. For this broth, the unique spices, herbs and vegetables are providing an excellent taste. While you need at the least a full day to make it, the result is rewarding. If you are brewing salt cured anchovies, you are lucky as you have access to fresh and usually excellent fish sauce. Otherwise try the best brand of fish sauce you can buy. There is a lot of under-appreciation for fish sauce in Western countries, unfortunately.

The filtration step, does help to remove solids from the broth. After cooling down in the fridge, a solidified layer of tallow will appear on top of the broth. I remove most but certainly not all of this. Because the fat does contain flavour! Traditionally in Vietnam the broth might never reach that low temperature. The resulting broth is a clear liquid full of taste and fragrance. Use the broth to make Vietnamese Pho.


How to Make Awesome Pho in 1-Hour | The Food Lab

There are times in life when devoting six hours to a single project seems like a good idea. Watching a Walking Dead marathon to procrastinate on the book you're supposed to be writing. Looking at funny pictures of cats and reading comments from irate atheists when you should be sleeping. Making Vietnamese beef noodle soup the traditional way on a chilly Sunday in the fall.

If it happens to be one of those times, I offer you links to Netflix, Reddit, and the perfectly functional traditional pho recipe I published last month for you.

Then there are those times when you're not in it for the long haul. Times when you'd rather just watch a 4-minute Youtube video, play the world's stupidest and shortest video game, or have dinner on the table in about an hour.

One solution for the dinner problem is to just make large batches of the traditional broth, freezing the extra in flat-laying cryo-back bags to quick and easy defrosting at moment's notice.

Another solution is to just figure out a way to make the darn stuff in record time from start to finish. My goal: full-flavored pho in 1 hour or less. I knew it was an exercise in futility to try and come up with something that tastes as rich and complex as the real deal, but I'd settle for 90% as good in 20% of the time.

Start your stopwatches, because here we go.

Accelerated Aromatics

Traditional pho is made by simmering beef bones and meat along with a few aromatics for around 6 hours, straining the broth, then serving it with the cooked meat, some sliced raw meat, hydrated rice noodles and other garnishes.

Outside of the meat, the basic flavors of pho are pretty simple: charred onions and ginger (or a bit of sweetness, smoky depth, and pungency), star anise, cinnamon, cloves, and occasionally other spices (for aroma), fish sauce (for salt and its savory umami qualities), sugar (for sweetness, duh), and a slew of stir-in herbs and such at the finish.

There's no need to streamline the stir-ins, as they take no time at all to cook. Likewise the fish sauce and sugar.

Spices, too, have their flavors extracted in under an hour, so we can leave them alone as-is. I like to put mine in a cheese-cloth pouch, making them fast and easy to remove and discard.

Normall, I'd broil my ginger and onions or roast them directly over the open flame of a gas burner. This requires about 25 minutes of time and a couple extra pans or racks to clean. For my fast pho, I skip the oven or burner and cook my onions and ginger directly in the pot I'm going to make the soup in.

The char is not quite as even or deep, but you can get some great caramelized flavors and just enough smoky char in just about ten minutes. This gives us plenty of time to think about the meat.

Faster Flavor

Before we can devise a new method, we first have to figure out exactly what our goals are. What happens when you simmer meat in water to make a broth?

Locked in this piece of beef chuck are various aromatic molecules and texture-altering proteins.

When you simmer it, there are actually two distinct things going on. First off, we're extracting and altering flavor. As muscle fibers heat up, they contracts, expelling proteins, fats, and aromatic molecules, like toothpaste coming out of a tube. These molecules get dissolved in the liquid, adding flavor.

Simultaneously, we're altering texture. This occurs when certain proteins present in the connective tissue that runs through meat—mainly collagen—break down and are converted into gelatin, a protein with the ability to form a microscopic, loose connective matrix within the broth, making it feel thicker and more unctuous on our palate.

I decided to first focus on faster flavor extraction, then come back to work on texture. First off, starting with a good quality canned broth and doctoring it up is a pain-free way to get a quick flavor boost. Though pho is traditionally made with beef, canned beef broths are universally pretty awful, consisting mostly of flavor enhancers and tasting tinny and thin. Canned chicken broth tastes much more like homemade, and provides a relatively neutral background to build a broth upon.

My next thought was to use more cuts of beef, or to try and find a more flavorful one, but I quickly shot that one down. From my previous explorations in pho, I knew that even with the most flavorful cuts of beef, flavor extraction still takes several hours at least.

But here's the thing: that flavor resides within long muscle fibers that slowly heat and squeeze out their contents into the water. So why not just make those long fibers shorter?

Cutting the meat into small cubes speeds things up considerably, but even better is to do this:

Gross? Maybe. But fast and flavorful? You bet. I found that by grinding the meat before adding it to my simmering liquid, I could decrease the time it takes to extract flavor by a good 3 or 4 hours, getting the job done in record time.

The only downside is that after cooking, the meat becomes un-servably dry and flavorless. But since we're getting all the good stuff out of it anyway, I was perfectly content to discard the spent beef and serve my soup with some freshly sliced cooked and raw flank steak in place of the selection of long-simmered cuts.

Using ground beef poses one other problem: It clouds up the broth as bits of extracted protein and gunk dissolve too finely to be strained out. To solve that problem, I turned to a classic French technique used to make a consommé. By combining the ground meat with a bit of egg white before simmering it, the entire mass forms a single, fragile raft of proteins that float on the surface of the stock.

As the broth slowly simmers, it rises up through that raft in little geysers, falling back down its net-like structure. The raft ends up performing double duty, both adding flavor, and acting as a super-fine filter to entrap all kinds of impurities. By then carefully skimming off the raft and discarding it, you're left with a crystal-clear, brightly flavored broth underneath.

Chopping meat finely helps you extract flavor much faster, but unfortunately it does nothing for hastening the creation of gelatin.

Boosting Body

The issue is that the conversion of collagen to gelatin is a time-dependent operation. Higher temperatures can speed the process a little bit, but with a normal pot, your temperature range is restricted to under 212°F, the boiling point of water at standard atmospheric pressure. For this reason, making a broth in a pressure cooker that can get hotter than the normal temperature of boiling water makes for a very fast broth with plenty of body. Unfortunately, pressure cookers are expensive and not everyone owns one. I wanted a way to do it without the pressure cooker.

One way to do this is to simply start with more collagen. Beef connective tissue contains some, but there are other, much more concentrated sources.

Younger animals who don't have fully developed bones or muscles have a far greater proportion of collagen in their bodies. This is the reason why veal and pork roasts have such a crazy sticky and unctuous mouthfeel. The cheapest and easiest source of young animal meat by far is chicken backs. Most commercial chickens are slaughtered at under 2 months of age. Most of their bones are not even fully hardened by this age, making them prime candidates for easy gelatin extraction.

Take a look at this broth, made with just ground beef and chilled overnight:

. versus this broth, made with beef and chicken (you can ignore the difference in color - this was due to testing different charring methods on the aromatics):

The difference is huge. A plain beef broth is watery and runny, while a chicken and beef broth is thick enough to scoop up until distinct solid pieces.

Tasted side by side, the chicken-based broth was universally favored by tasters, and none of them picked up any overtly chicken-y aromas. The beef and aromatics are strong enough that they override and underlying chicken flavor.

The broth was close, but not quite as rich as I'd like it. The solution? Just add pre-extracted gelatin. Commercial gelatin is made by processing animal bones with acidified solutions that makes gelatin extraction fast and economical.

A few packets of gelatin bloomed in the chicken broth before simmering took my broth from pretty tasty to sticky, rich, lip-smackingly delicious. The kind of broth you don't just want to lick off your own lips, but from the lips of everyone dining with you as well.

Please show some restraint when serving.

With the broth done, the rest comes together in a snap. Soaked rice noodles, a bunch of herbs and bean sprouts, come lime wedges and condiments, a few thin slices of raw flank steak that cook gently in the hot broth, as well as a few slices of flank steak that was simmered along with the rest of the broth.

Is it as great as a full-blown pho? Nope. But it's almost as good, and I guarantee it'll be on the table, ready to eat in less time than it takes you to hit 50 meters in QWOP.


Cheater Pho (Asian Noodle Soup)

Pho is a super popular Vietnamese noodle dish. It’s also one of those amazing hangover foods that comes in particularly handy during your college days.

But pho typically takes hours and hours of simmering, which is simply too long for those busy weeknights. Now with this cheater version here, you’ll still have homemade pho, made from scratch of course, in 30 min or less.

And if rice noodles are difficult to find in your area, feel free to substitute any other kind of noodles here to your liking – ramen, udon, angel hair pasta, etc.

Quick dinners are meant to be exactly that. Quick and easy, not leaving you with crazy ingredients that you can’t find at your local grocery store.

So there you have it – this cheater pho is quick, comforting and just so darn easy.