Crock Pot Pho Soup
For those of you who haven’t tried Pho soup, it is a Vietnamese noodle soup consisting of broth, rice noodles, fragrant spices, and usually either chicken or beef. There are many different variations and each restaurant seems to have their own take on the popular soup.
I fell in love with Pho soup a couple of years ago and my husband and I were ordering Pho almost once a week. Slight addiction…. maybe??!! I was however starting to have reactions to all the salt and MSG that is typically found in the restaurant version so we had to stop ordering it. I’d wake up the next day with a crazy salt bloat, bags under my eyes, and a headache to go along with it.
Missing my beloved soup, I tried a few different versions of Pho at home and finally settled on a recipe that I felt was EVEN better than take out. It’s PHO licious!!!! I made a chicken and beef version but you can make this soup with just chicken, just beef, or even vegetarian if you like. I also added vegetables to mine to make sure I was getting my greens along with more vitamins and minerals! To me, there is nothing better than a satisfying fragrant bowl of soup in the winter. I love that this can be made in a crock pot as well. This soup is really easy to make but it takes time to simmer to allow all the spices to meld into the broth. It is really nice to be able to get it going in the am and have dinner ready in the pm!! I’m big on setting things up and forgetting about them. If you don’t have a crock pot don’t worry you can also use a soup pot.
The recipe can seem a bit intimidating with all the different spices that you likely won’t have at home but don’t worry its way easier than it seems! You can get everything at your local Asian store and I find the prices of spices to be a LOT cheaper than at a normal grocery store. Bonus!! If you live in Kelowna the Oriental Supermarket has it all. Don’t waste your time going elsewhere. My husband was really impressed with this one and told me we are never ordering take out Pho again!!
Chicken and Beef Pho Soup Recipe
- 2 pounds oxtail (can also use short ribs, or a mix of both) * If you are not a fan of beef you can eliminate the oxtail and sirloin and just add chicken. The Oxtail however does add a nice depth to your broth. I found some in the freezer section of the Asian store and let them thaw out overnight.
- 1 pound top sirloin, sliced very thin (wait to slice your beef until then end to prevent it from drying out).
- 3 chicken breasts
- 8 cups beef broth (I still use beef broth even if I’m making chicken pho as I like the extra flavour the beef broth provides. If you want to make vegetarian pho you can use vegetable broth and eliminate all the meat).
- 1 large onion, peeled and cut in half
- 8 inch piece of ginger, sliced lengthwise and sliced into about 8 pieces
- 3 carrots, cut into a few large pieces
- 1 large head of broccoli
- 2-3 small heads baby bok choy
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 Tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 star anise
- 2 teaspoons whole coriander
- 3 cloves
- 1 cardamom pod
- 1 teaspoon fennel
- Salt to taste
- Rice noodles (I like the fresh rice noodles found at the asian store)
- fresh herbs such as basil, cilantro and mint
- lime slices
- hoisin sauce
- jalapeno slices
- In a frying pan over medium heat, toast the cinnamon, star anise, cloves, coriander, fennel and cardamom until fragrant, stirring frequently and being careful not to burn. Add to the crock pot. This step is really important!!! It allows the flavour of the spice to really come through. No oil is needed to toast these.
- In the same pan, add the ginger and onion with the cut sides down and cook until they start to become charred, about 10 minutes. Add to the crock pot.
- Boil your oxtail if using in a separate pot of water for 10 mins. This boils out any impurities and will give your broth a nice clear appearance. Remove the Oxtail from the water and rinse with fresh water, then add them to the crock pot.
- Add chicken breasts to the crock pot. Pour in beef stock and an additional one cup of water. Add the soy sauce, fish sauce and sugar.
- Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 5 hours if using a crock pot. Simmer on low for 5 hours if using a stock pot.
- When done, remove meat and set aside. Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer to remove the solids.
- Remove the meat from the bone and add the meat back to the broth. Taste the broth and add salt or more fish sauce if needed.
- Steam your broccoli, some bok choy, and sliced carrots on the side and then add them to the stock OR add the veggies and let the stock simmer for another 20 mins until your veggies are soft. I wait to add my veggies until the last 20 mins or I steam them separately as I don’t like it when they are too soft.
- Cook the rice noodles according to package instructions, set aside.
- To prepare each bowl of soup, add a serving of rice noodles to the bowl and add slices of the sirloin steak. Pour the hot broth over the noodles and meat, which will cook the steak slices (if you don’t want to do this, just add the steak slices to the hot broth a few minutes before serving to cook it.
- Serve with the additional toppings and allow each person to garnish the soup as they wish.
**The amount of salt you will add depends on how much is in the broth and also your tastes, so it is best to add it at the end if needed after tasting the broth.
***Usually the slices of raw steak ar added to the bowl and then the hot broth is poured over it to cook them. However if you are squeamish about that, add them to the broth a few minutes before serving to cook them (don’t cook them too long or they will get tough)