A Vietnamese Spin on Leftover Turkey

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Pho (pronounced “fuh”) is a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup typically made with beef. It can also be made with chicken (which is known as pho ga), seafood, or in this case, turkey.

Using turkey stock and meat is in no way traditional, but it’s a great usage for Thanksgiving leftovers, as well as homemade turkey stock. This is very easy to make, but it’s honest to goodness one of the most flavorful soups you will ever taste. If you don’t have turkey stock or fresh turkey on hand, you can make this soup with chicken stock and organic turkey slices from the deli counter.

You can use any greens you like (I enjoy kale, but I’ve also added different Asian greens like tatsoi which I grow in my garden). You are also welcome to add extra vegetables.

Most recipes for pho use rice noodles, but I prefer it with cellophane (bean thread) noodles. Rice noodles and cellophane noodles are available at most natural foods stores, Asian groceries, and in the Asian section of most large supermarkets.

Turkey Pho Recipe
inspired by Steamy Kitchen
Makes 2 large servings

First, toast the spices:

  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 4 whole star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  1. Heat a cast-iron skillet or frying pan over medium heat. Add spices and toast until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Make sure they don’t burn. Immediately spoon out the spices into a bowl and set aside.

Make the turkey pho:

  • 1 quart homemade turkey stock (or homemade or store-bought chicken stock)
  • 1 bunch green onions (green top parts only) chopped
  • 1 3-inch chunk of ginger, sliced and smashed with side of knife
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar, or more to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. fish sauce, or more to taste
  • 1 cup kale or other dark greens, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 pound leftover turkey breast, shredded
  • 1 bunch (approx. 2 oz.) cellophane/bean thread noodles (or enough flat dried rice noodles to serve 2)
  • 1-2 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped- for garnish (optional)
  • 1-2 Tbsp. chopped green onions (white parts only), minced- for garnish (optional)
  • 1/2 lime, cut into wedges
  • Sriracha chili sauce to taste
  1. In a large pot, add the toasted spices and all ingredients from stock through fish sauce and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, skimming the surface frequently.
  3. Taste the broth and add more sugar or fish sauce, if needed. Strain the broth and discard the solids. Add the kale or other greens and and cook for 1-2 more minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Add the shredded turkey and the cellophane noodles. Allow to sit for a few minutes while the noodles soften.
  5. Ladle the broth into bowls. Divide the kale, shredded turkey and the noodles evenly into each bowl.
  6. Sprinkle on the garnishes and add sriracha to taste. Squeeze lime juice to taste over the top of your bowl before eating.
blog post photo

Winnie Abramson writes the organic gardening and food blog Healthy Green Kitchen

Photo credit: Winnie Abramson

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