Pho is an intensely flavored Vietnamese soup that traditionally takes hours of stove-top cooking—and the cook’s attention—to create. This simplified version is still bursting with the flavors of star anise, cinnamon and five-spice powder, but it’s a snap to throw together and the slow cooker does most of the work. For a touch of color and fresh flavor, stir in a few handfuls of baby spinach just before serving.
Slow-Cooker Five-Spice Chicken Pho
- 8 cups (64 fl. oz./2 l) chicken stock
- 1 yellow onion, halved and sliced
- 3 Tbs. fish sauce
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 star anise pods
- 2-inch (5-cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 tsp. five-spice powder
- 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
- 2 tsp. sugar
- Kosher salt
- 2 1/2 lb. (1.25 kg) skinless, bone-in chicken thighs
- 3/4 lb. (340 g) dried flat rice noodles, about 1/8 inch (3 mm) wide
- Bean sprouts
- Thinly sliced jalapeño chiles
- Lime wedges
- Fresh Thai or sweet basil, cilantro, and/or mint leaves
- Sriracha sauce and hoisin sauce
1. In a slow cooker, stir together the stock, onion, fish sauce, cinnamon, star anise, ginger, five-spice powder, coriander, sugar and 1 tsp. salt. Add the chicken thighs, cover and cook on low heat for 6 hours. The chicken should be very tender.
2. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, bone the chicken and discard the bones. Using 2 forks, shred the meat into bite-size chunks.
3. Line a fine-mesh sieve with cheesecloth and strain the cooking liquid through the sieve into a bowl; discard the solids. Return the liquid and the shredded chicken to the slow cooker, cover and cook on low heat for 30 minutes to warm through.
4. While the chicken and cooking liquid are reheating, bring a large pot three-fourths full of water to a boil over high heat. Add the rice noodles and cook until just tender, according to the package directions, then drain. Arrange the bean sprouts, jalapeños, lime wedges and herbs on a platter and set on the table for serving. Set the sriracha and hoisin sauces alongside the platter.
5. Divide the noodles evenly among individual bowls and ladle the hot broth and chicken over the noodles. Invite diners to top their soup with the sprouts, chiles, lime juice, herbs and sauces as desired. Serves 6.
Discover the secrets to making the most of your slow cooker with
Everyday Slow Cooking, by Kim Laidlaw.