Friday, March 4, 2011

Slow Cooker Chicken Pho

Earlier this week the boy and I weren't feeling so great, he was much worse off than me though.  We were supposed to go to a very special dinner, that you might have seen all over twitter under the #LLLSecret.  We decided that with the hardcore stomach flu the Boy had and the fact that I could feel it coming on we couldn't attend the event.  We were heartbroken, check out the newly launched facebook page for the event and you might understand a bit why we were so bummed.

Anyway, I knew that even though my sickness I needed to make something tasty for dinner to try to make up for missing the event.  Obviously we couldn't have something as delicious and rich since our tummys' couldn't take it.  But then I remembered I had saved a recipe I saw a few months ago for Chicken Pho, or Pho Ga as it is traditionally known.  It was from Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen and I had been wanting to try this or her slow cooker Beef Pho recipe for quite some time.  It seemed like there'd be no better time especially since moving to Toronto my sick soup craving had to adjust from the Matzo Ball Soup that I lived on in LA to Rare Beef Pho from Pho Saigon, a Vietnamese Restaurant near our house.  I thought that this Chicken Pho might actually be the perfect marriage of the two
So I ran to the Chinese Market that was near our house, knowing it was my best bet to pick up the few ingredients I was didn't already have on hand, especially the chicken parts for the soup broth.  I was happy to find huge bags of chicken parts for soup stock at a $1 for 2 huge bags.  Such a steal!  I picked up a couple so I could freeze some for some basic chicken stock.  There weren't any chicken wing tips, but a bag of chicken wings, with tip was less than $2, so I grabbed that too.  I hurried back home, got back into my comfy sweats, threw everything in the slow cooker, got back on the couch and waited, hoping for a perfectly soothing finished soup.

Slow Cooker Chicken Pho
from Bon Appetit

2 lbs chicken parts (recommended that at least 1/2 lib is chicken wing tips or feet, parts that don't take up alot of room and aren't used anyway)
1/2 onion
3 inch chunk of ginger, sliced
2 Tbsps coriander seeds
4 whole cloves
2 whole star anise
2 Tbsps sugar
2 Tbsps fish sauce
1 small bunch of cilantro stems, tied with kitchen twine

1lb dried rice noodles (about 1/4" wide)
1/2 lb chicken meat (breast or thigh), thinly sliced
2 cups bean sprouts, washed
handful of cilantro leaves
1/2 cup thnly sliced red onion
1/2 lime, cut into 4 wedges
Sriracha hot sauce (optional)
Hoisin sauce (optional)

1. To the slow cooker, add the chicken parts, onion, ginger, coriander seeds, cloves, star anise, sugar, fish sauce and cilantro stems. Fill with water to the max level of your slow cooker. Turn the slow cooker to high for 4-6 hours or low for 8-10. Remove all chicken and cilantro stems, strain broth through a cheesecloth. Taste and adjust with additional fish sauce and sugar if needed.
2. Soak the rice noodles in cool water for 5 minutes. Drain. In the meantime, bring a big pot of water to a boil and ten turn to low. Add the chicken slices and let cook for 1-3 minutes or until cooked through, the time depends on how thinly you slice the chicken. Next, add the rice noodles to the water and cook for 1 minute. Remove the noodles and divide amongst 2 serving bowls.
3. Add chicken slices, bean sprouts, cilantro leaves, red onions and broth to each bowl. Have the lime, Sriracha and Hoisin at the table as condiments.

Boy did I get my wish for a soothing soup!  This was so easy to put together, so warming and comforting that it may now be my new favorite soup when I'm not feeling well.  The key will be to get the Boy to make it for me next time I'm sick.  I liked it so much I may make some of the broth and freeze it for the next time I have a craving, of course it won't be able to be for dinner again because of No ReEATS, but it would make an amazing lunch as I learned the next day.

If you like Pho or Vietnamese noodle soup I highly recommend trying out this recipe, it's very manageable and tastes just like you'd get at a restaurant.  The Boy even commented while it was cooking how it smelled like Pho.


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