I made my own Chicken Pho, which is a Vietnamese soup with noodles and spices and bean sprouts and bok choy....mmmmmh! It is cropping up on all the menus lately at Panera and Chinese food places and all kinds of other eateries. The hearty broth flavored with aromatic spices tingles the senses in the most delightful way.
This week SLO Veg Delivery sent tat soi, which is a cousin of bok choy, along with organic carrots and celery, so right there I had the makings of a good soup. I had picked up a roasted chicken from the deli the other night and I had about half of it left over, perfect soup stock makings. I pulled off most of the meat, putting it aside, and put just the carcass into a pot of water, along with the ends and tops of my celery and carrot sticks. Then I added the seasonings: cloves, a cinnamon stick, Chinese five spice powder, salt, pepper and garlic powder. I added a generous dash of fish sauce and soy sauce and let the pot simmer for a couple of hours on the stove top. This can also be done in a crock pot, cooking on high for 4-5 hours to bring out the most flavor.
The broth is then strained and the bones and simmering spices and vegetables are disgarded. Now you have a wonderful, flavorful soup base to mix with the chicken pieces, chopped fresh carrots, celery, bok choy, and noodles for the pho. Restaurants serve cilantro, jalapeno pepper, and mung bean sprouts on the side, to be added to the pho at the table, but I just added them all into the pot and ladeled it into serving bowls.