Vietnamese Chicken Pho soup

This comforting, immune boosting and delicious soup with warm spices is normally made with beef, but this variant is made with chicken! Make a big batch and freeze some for later when you are not in the mood to cook but want a delicious and quick dinner!

Season: All
Servings: 4-6
Diet: Gluten free
Time: 3,5 hours
Difficulty: Medium


Ingredients:
• 1 whole organic chicken
• 4 organic chicken drumsticks
• 4 litres of water
• 1 tbsp. salt
• 1 tbsp. sugar
• 3 large onions
• Small thumb size piece of ginger, sliced
• 1 tsp. fennel seeds
• 1 tsp. coriander seeds
• 4 cloves
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 4 tbsp. of fish sauce 

Optional toppings:
• Sliced spring onions
• Sliced jalapeno
• Coriander leaves
• Thai basil
• Bean sprouts
• Lime wedges
• Noodles
• Sambal badjak
• Fried onions

Preparation:
1. Start with chopping the onions in quarters with the skin still attached and dry fry in a frying pan or on a gas flame until lightly charred.
2. Dry fry the spices (fennel seeds, coriander seeds, clove and cinnamon) for a minute or 2 as well.
3. Next divide the whole chicken into pieces. Remove the back bone, you can do this with scissors and chop of the legs and wings. This makes it easier to pull of the meat when the chicken is cooked. Save the backbone to cook together with the rest of the chicken for the stock.
Remove the chicken skin from the legs and body by just pulling it of the flesh and save for later (to make crispy chicken skin, which is the BEST, but optional of course).
4. Add the charred onions to a large stockpot with the ginger, water, spices, salt, sugar and all the chicken parts plus the 4 extra drumsticks and bring to a boil. Now switch to a lower heat and let it simmer for about 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked.
5. Remove the chicken from the broth using tongs and let it cool slightly. Pluck the meat from the bones and refrigerate. Return the bones back to the broth and let it simmer for about 2 more hours.
6. Strain the chicken broth and cook on a high for 15 minutes to intensify all the flavors.
7. Stir in the fish sauce and taste if it needs more seasoning like salt or sugar. Add the chicken meat back to the broth and let it heat through and serve with all the toppings!
Tip: the lime juice is a must and will lift the whole soup, don’t leave them out.

Extra recipe: Crispy chicken skin:
1. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
2. Slice the reserved chicken skin into pieces into medium sized pieces and divide on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Season with salt and cover with another baking parchment and put something heavy (oven proof) on top, so that the chicken skin remains flat.
3. Bake in the oven for about 30-50 minutes until golden and crisp. Check after 30 minutes, you don’t want burnt skin because this will taste very bitter.
Crispy chicken skin is literally the best thing ever!
Please try not waste the skin, this extra step will bring lots of flavour and happiness to your pho soup!

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