Thursday, February 28, 2013

Get Well Pho

While I was sick, I wasn't doing too much of anything, except sleeping.  I slept 12-14 hours a day. During the times I was awake, I barely had the energy to make it to the couch to watch TV.   When I ate, food was quick and easy.  I lost my taste, and most days nothing sounded good.  If something actually sounded good, I ate it, only to be disappointed because it had no flavor.

A couple years ago, I had a bad winter cold.  My friend insisted I need a big bowl of chicken "fuh" to feel better. 

Ummm, what?  

You know, "fuh" from that place over by that market. 

Oh, that's what that is?  "Pho" is pronounced "fuh"?  Gotcha.

So I went with her and got a big bowl of pho. 

It was steaming hot and smelled amazing and tasted even better.  You could tell the broth was homemade and simmered from bones all day long.  There was an assortment of bits and pieces you could get in your pho like tendons and tripe, but I stuck with something "safe" and got thinly sliced steak. 

After the first bite, I was hooked.  Don't tell anyone, but I like it better than my mom's chicken noodle soup she made when we were kids.

Now, since I have been sick, I have been lazy and using lots of shortcuts.  

 Yes, I know it's way better to cut up a chicken and simmer it for hours and make a rich, nourishing stock.  But when you are only out of bed for 2 hours a day (that's a generous number, too), you don't have time to simmer a stock and make a fancy meal.  

So this is the shortcut way to make a big bowl of pho.   

Get Well Chicken Pho

1-2 carton(s) Chicken Pho Soup Base
1lb seasoned ground pork sausage (once again, I cheated used "Potsticker" flavor fresh made sausage from the local market...but use plain, add 2 finely chopped green onions, 2tbl finely diced red bell pepper, and salt, pepper, soy sauce and freshly grated ginger to taste)
1/2 of a 14 oz package rice noodles, prepared according to package directions, drained (I use the Taste of Thai stir fry noodles)
A handful of dried Shiitake mushrooms, prepared according to package directions
1 package fresh bean sprouts, rinsed
1 Lime cut in wedges
1 bunch basil, roughly torn
1 bunch cilantro, roughly torn

Preheat oven to 400*.  Shape pork into walnut sized meatballs.  In a heavy oven safe skillet, melt coconut oil over medium high heat.  Brown meatballs on one side for about 2-3 minutes.Carefully turn meatballs over, turn off stove, and place skillet in the oven for 10-15 minutes until meatballs are cooked completely (165* internal temperature). 

In a pot heat soup base until it starts to come to a boil. Don't let it boil away for too long, you just want to get it to serving temperature. 

In a deep soup bowl, place a portion of the noodles in the bottom, followed by a small handful of bean sprouts, a few meatballs, and a bit of the shiitake mushrooms.  Ladle hot broth over the top.  Top with basil and cilantro and a lime wedge.  Serve immediately. 

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