This recipe makes the pho's chicken broth from scratch, which makes it much richer and more flavorful than take-out pho but it also requires 3.5 hours of elapsed time. The working time is only about a half hour; the rest is just roast and simmer time.
Serves 4 adults as a meal.
2 large yellow onions, rinsed, unpeeled and quartered
3 1/2-inch thick slices of fresh ginger, unpeeled and smashed
3 lbs chicken bones (often sold among the pre-cut chicken in the refrigerated butcher case as "soup bones" or "chicken back for soup"), or use 3 lbs chicken wings
4 quarts cold water
3 1/2 lbs chicken, quartered (or 2 lbs chicken breasts, with skin and bones, if you prefer white meat only)
1 tbsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup Asian fish sauce
1 lb rice noodles, cooked al dente per the package's instructions
3-4 green onions, white parts only, thinly sliced
Condiments (these are optional, based on your preference)
2 jalapenos, thinly sliced
1 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped or torn up
2 limes, quartered
In a 400-degree oven, roast the onions, ginger and chicken bones on a rimmed baking sheet for 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring the water to a boil in a large stockpot. Add the roasted vegetables and chicken bones, the quartered chicken, salt and sugar, and return to a boil. Lower the heat to a moderate simmer and cook until the chicken meat is cooked through, about 35 minutes.
Use tongs to remove the cooked chicken pieces (not the chicken bones) and place in a bowl to cool. When cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the skin and bones. Shred the chicken meat and place in the fridge. Place the skin and bones back in the stockpot and simmer uncovered on low heat for 2 hours.
Using a fine strainer or chinois, strain the chicken broth into a large soup pot and reduce over high heat until you have about 3 quarts (12 cups), about 15-20 minutes. Stir in the fish sauce.
To serve, place the cooked rice noodles and shredded chicken meat in large soup bowls. Ladle the chicken broth into the bowls. Encourage everyone to pile condiments into their soup and enjoy!
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