Recipe for Pho Ga (Vietnamese chicken noodle soup)

Eric Wolfinger

Serves 6

Charles Phan, author of “Vietnamese Home Cooking” and chef-owner of The Slanted Door restaurants in San Francisco, makes the chicken for his chicken pho in an unusual way. He simmers the poultry for 15 minutes, lets it sit covered for 15 minutes, then plunges it into ice water for 15 minutes more. The result is very creamy meat. Get the stock cooking and shred the cooked chicken and chop garnishes while you wait.

4 quarts water
1 bunch scallions, dark green cut off for soup, white and light green thinly sliced for garnish
2 pieces (each 2 inches) fresh ginger, left whole and crushed
1 tablespoon salt, or more to taste
4 chicken breast halves on the bone (3 pounds total)
pounds chicken wings, backs, and necks
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 package (16 ounces) dried rice vermicelli, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes and drained
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1 bunch fresh Thai basil
3 cups fresh mung bean sprouts
1 lime, cut into 6 wedges
1 jalapeno, stemmed and thinly sliced (remove seeds first, if you like)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
Chili-garlic sauce, such as sriracha (for serving)

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1. In a soup pot, bring the water, scallions, ginger, and salt to a boil. Add the chicken breasts and return to a boil. Skim well. Lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

2. Turn the burner off, cover the pan, and let the chicken sit for 15 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a bowl of ice water. Let it sit for 15 minutes more.

3. Meanwhile, put the chicken wings, backs, and necks into a large heatproof bowl. Bring a tea kettle of water to a boil and pour it over the chicken pieces. Let it sit for 15 minutes. Drain the chicken and rinse with cold water.

4. Add the chicken pieces to the pot with the brown sugar. Return the liquid to a boil. Skim the surface thoroughly. Cook, skimming often, for 1½ hours. With a large slotted spoon, remove the chicken pieces, ginger, and scallions (if you used chicken wings, remove the meat from the bones and use in another dish).

5. Drain the chicken breasts, pat them dry, and discard the skin and bones. Shred the meat with your hands. Add it to the pot of chicken stock with the noodles. Add a small handful of scallions and half the cilantro. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with Thai basil, sprouts, lime, jalapeno, fish sauce, and chili-garlic sauce. Sheryl Julian. Adapted from “Vietnamese Home Cooking.”