Most of the time, I use canned chicken stock. I work a full time job and try maintain some semblance of a social life, so I don’t always have time to make my own stock from scratch. While delicious, it just isn’t something I ever think to do ahead of time. You know how it is, I’m sure: wake up, shower and dress, pack lunches, and darn it if I forgot to get the chicken bones in the soup pot with all the nicely chopped vegetables and tightly bundled herbs and spices before I run out of the house at 7 AM to catch my train, only to return again at 7 PM, when it’s time to shower again (New York summers are brutal!), throw something quick together for dinner, and maybe do a bit of reading before bed. That’s where this new Knorr Homestyle Stock comes in. It’s got more flavor than your average canned stock, and it’s much less salty than a typical bouillon cube. It can be diluted as much as you want, too, so it’s easy to immerse some of your own signature flavors into whatever you’re cooking. I was really excited when I was asked by Knorr to create a recipe using their new stock, and I wanted to make it shine. You see, if they pick my recipe, I get a chance to be flown out to San Diego for BlogHer 2011, as well as spot in a live cooking competition!
I can’t think of many meals in which a good broth is key as much as in pho. If you’ve never had pho, you’re in for a treat! Pho is something I actually learned about when I first started watching No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain, and after I saw Tony slurping up a big bowl of it, I knew I had to try it for myself. Pho is made with rice noodles, and while traditionally uses beef, I wanted to keep things a bit leaner, so I opted for chicken. I suppose this is sort of like a Vietnamese version of chicken noodle soup! I used fragrant ground coriander, ground Chinese five spice, and fresh ginger in my broth, as well as shredded chicken, sauteed mushrooms and onions, and bok choy for a comforting pairing along with the rice noodles. My favorite part about pho, however, are all of the tasty toppings. We used cilantro, red onions, sprouts, Sriracha, hoisin sauce, and fresh lime, but you can really use whatever you like. There’s nothing more appetizing to me than a colorful bowl of pho, so I hope that I can convince you to make some at home soon! Pho really is the new chicken noodle!
Update: I won! I will be attending BlogHer 2011! I hope to see you all there – please come and say hi if you see me walking around! Thanks to Knorr and BlogHer for the opportunity!
After your chicken has simmered in the Knorr Homestyle Stock, shred it up with two forks and return it to the pot.
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice
- 2 packages of Knorr Homestyle Stock + 8 cups of water (or 8 cups of homemade chicken stock)
- 1 2-inch piece of ginger, cut into quarters
- 2 chicken breasts, cut into quarters
- salt and pepper, to taste
- ¾ pound mushrooms (of your choice), gently cleaned and thinly sliced
- ½ tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 red onion, very thinly sliced (reserve a few slices for a garnish later)
- 1 bunch bok choy, cleaned
- 1 pound dry rice noodles, ramen noodles, etc. (any thin noodle will do)
- Thinly sliced red onion
- Fresh cilantro
- Lime wedges
- Hoisin sauce
- Sriracha and/or hot chile sauce
- First, get your broth going and your chicken cooking. Add the teaspoon of ground coriander and the teaspoon of Chinese five spice to a dry soup pot and toast over medium heat for a few minutes, until fragrant, stirring often. If you are using the Knorr chicken stock, add in 8 cups of water and bring to a boil, then add in your two packages of Knorr chicken stock and whisk until combined. Otherwise, you can just add in 8 cups of chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then add in the chicken pieces, and cook over medium-high heat for 20-25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Be sure to skim the surface of the broth every so often to rid the broth of extra fat.
- Now, get your mushrooms going. Add ¼ of your cleaned and sliced mushrooms to a large, dry pan over medium heat. Cook until the juices start to come out of them a bit, then add a ¼ of your butter to the mushrooms. Stir until browned, then move to another plate, wipe your pan clean, and start on your next batch of mushrooms, repeating the same steps until they are all cooked. It’s best to cook mushrooms this way to retain as much mushroom flavor as possible – they release . When the mushrooms are done, add the onions to the pan with a bit more butter, if you like, and cook over medium-high heat for 15 minutes or so, until caramelized. Add to the plate along with the mushrooms and set aside.
- When your chicken is ready, remove it from the pot and shred with two forks. Set aside and add the bok choy. Raise the temperature to medium-high, then add in the mushrooms and the onions. Allow everything to simmer together for 10 minutes or so, until the bok choy is wilted. While you do this, get your noodles ready according to their package directions. You can boil them in the broth, or in another pot – whatever the box or package says is best. My noodles were rice noodles, so I heated some water to boiling, removed it from the heat, and added the rice noodles, then let them sit for 10 minutes or so, until softened. At this point, I drained the noodles and added them to my broth. When the noodles are ready, add them to the broth, along with the chicken. Remove the pot of broth and noodles from the heat, taste, and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Ladle the pho into bowls and garnish with cilantro, red onion, sprouts, lime wedges, Sriracha, Hoisin sauce, or whatever else you like! Happy eating!