Tag Archives: soup

Pho Ga (Chicken Pho)


I was never partial to chicken pho until we tried it in Hanoi. We had it at our hotel for breakfast, and it had a very clear but complex broth, with only the tiniest slivers of chicken meat. It was amazing.



I used the recipe from Steamy Kitchen, and I was very pleased with the results.  Paco had three bowls! Today is also the beginning of Chinese New Year, so the noodles that we had are good luck because they represent long life. Winner winner chicken dinner! 😉

Pho Ga (Chicken Pho)
Adapted from Steamy Kitchen

1 whole chicken, cut into pieces, or 3-4 lbs of chicken pieces (I used 2 leg/thigh pieces, 4 wings, and a bunch of extra wing tips)
1 onion, halved
3-inch piece of ginger
1 packet of pho spices (or coriander, cloves, star anise, and fennel)
2 T fish sauch
2 T sugar
1 small bunch of cilantro stems, tied

For serving:
dried pho noodles, boiled and drained
bean sprouts
jalapeno, serrano, or Thai chilis, thinly sliced
green onions, sliced finely
lime wedges

Begin by preheating your broiler to high.  Put the onion halves and ginger on a baking tray on the top shelf, and broil for 15 minutes, turning at the halfway point.  The onion skin will brown and both the onion and the ginger will soften.  When they are done, remove the skin from the onion and ginger, and slice the ginger into thick slices.


Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the chicken pieces, and boil for 5 minutes.  There will be a lot of frothy scum that rises to the top. Drain the pot, rinse the chicken in cold water, and rinse out the pot.  This is how you make sure that your broth stays clear.


Fill the pot with cold water, and add the chicken, dried herbs, fish sauce, sugar, cilantro stems, onion, and ginger to the pot.  Bring to a boil then immediately reduce the heat to low and cover. You want the broth to continue cooking at the most gentle simmer possible.


If necessary, skim the broth every 20 minutes, removing any impurities that float the top.  After 30 minutes, remove the meatiest pieces of chicken. (For me that meant the legs, but if you used the whole chicken it will be the breasts.)  Set them aside to cool.  Continue to simmer the broth for another hour (90 minutes total).  Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. (Mine required some more fish sauce and quite a bit of salt.)

When you are ready to eat, remove the solids from the broth, reserving as much of the liquid as possible.  Shred the chicken that you set aside earlier.  Assemble the individual bowls with noodles, broth, and chicken.  Serve with bean sprouts, lime wedges, and fresh herbs.  Enjoy!



Turkey, Mushroom, and Barley Soup


Paco and I spent a lovely Thanksgiving with his father’s family at his aunt’s house. Everything was delicious, so delicious that we came home craving more turkey! After a five-hour drive, turkey, mushroom, and barley soup sounded perfect. I used turkey thighs, but you could of course use leftover turkey.

Turkey, Mushroom, and Barley Soup
Adapted from Diane Rossen Worthington at the Chicago Tribune

1 T olive oil
1 handful of dried Shiitake mushrooms
2 turkey thighs with skins removed (1 – 1/ 1/2 lbs.), or 2 cups of chopped, leftover turkey
kosher salt
3 leeks, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 Portabello mushroom cap, diced
2 carrots, diced
4 ribs celery, diced
1 bay leaf
1 stem of rosemary, finely chopped
4 stems of thyme, finely chopped
1 c of pearl barley
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 c parsley, chopped

Soak the dried Shiitake mushrooms in hot water for at least 30 minutes.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the leeks and garlic, and saute until softened. Add the fresh mushrooms and saute until browned. Add the carrots and celery, and saute for another minute. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Add the turkey thighs and enough water to cover all of the other ingredients. Add the barley, rosemary, thyme, and bay leaf, and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer for an hour, or until the barley is tender and the turkey is cooked through. (If you are using leftover turkey, add the chopped turkey to the pot once the barley is tender.) If using turkey thighs, remove them from the pot, remove the meat from the bone, and add the shredded meat back to the pot. Squeeze  the excess water from the soaking Shiitake mushrooms, and cut them into small pieces. Add the mushrooms and the soaking water to the soup.

Add the soy sauce to the soup, then taste and add additional seasoning if necessary. Sprinkle fresh parsley over the soup before serving.

Chicken tortilla soup


In high school, I worked at a Mexican restaurant, where I learned about enchiladas, pozole, and carnitas. Tortilla soup was one of the staff’s favorite meal items. Here’s a quick, healthy version.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 T vegetable oil
3 c water and/or chicken broth
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 poblano pepper, diced
1 T tomato paste
14 oz can tomatoes with green chilis
2 c chicken broth
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 c frozen corn

For the garnish:
shredded cheddar cheese
green onion, finely chopped
tortilla chips
lime wedges
avocado, diced

Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and grill or pan fry until they are browned and cooked through. Allow to cook, then cut them into bite-sized pieces.

In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, poblano pepper, and saute until the onions are softened. Add the tomato paste, tomatoes, chicken broth, cumin, coriander, and oregano. Bring to a boil, then add the corn. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the chopped chicken to the soup, and serve with cheese, green onion, chips, lime, and avocado on the side.

Cream of Tomato Soup with Sherry and Chives


I have been fully converted to tomato soup since discovering this one, but the version below might be my new favorite. The sherry adds a nice kick, reminiscent of the way that vodka makes vodka sauce so special.  I didn’t think that I could like tomato soup that doesn’t involve roasted tomatoes, but I stand corrected!

Cream of Tomato Soup with Sherry and Chives

3 T butter
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
kosher salt
black pepper
3 T flour
10 roma tomatoes, diced
1 c chicken stock
2 T sugar
1 c dry sherry
1/2 c half-and-half
chives, finely chopped

Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the onion and garlic, and saute until slightly softened. Season with salt and pepper. Add the flour and saute in the butter for two minutes to form a roux.

Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, and sugar. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes.

Turn off the stove, and allow to cool for a few minutes. Carefully puree the soup in a blender.

Add the pureed soup back to the pot. Heat until warm, then turn off the stove. Add the half-and-half and sherry, then stir to combine. Reheat again if necessary.

Garnish with chives.

Pozole (with spare ribs)


I usually make turkey pozole, but I wanted to make a pork-based version.  I used spare ribs because I wanted a cut of meat that braises well, but I needed something with a bone to add to the flavor of the broth.  This was even easier to make than turkey pozole, because you don’t have to brown the spare ribs first!


2 lbs spare ribs
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp New Mexico ground chile
1 tsp dried oregano
kosher salt
1 32-oz can of hominy, rinsed and drained

For garnish:
red or green cabbage, sliced
lime wedges
diced red onion
tortilla chips or corn tortillas

Rinse the spare ribs, then cut into individual ribs. Put them in a large pot, and cover with water by two inches. Add the onion, garlic, chile, and oregano, and season generously with kosher salt. Heat over medium-high heat until the water reaches a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

Simmer for 2 hours, or until the meat is tender and can be easily pulled from the bone. Turn off the heat, and use tongs to remove the ribs from the soup.

While the ribs cool, stir the hominy into the soup. Shred the meat from the ribs and discard the bones. Add the meat to the soup, then stir and warm over medium heat.

Serve with cabbage, tortilla chips, limes, cilantro, diced onion, and avocado.