Late last week, I got what my grandma used to call a “bee in my bonnet”. After hearing a recent podcast by Inquiring Minds that featured Michael Pollan (The Science of Eating Well And Not falling for Diet Fads) and coming to the stark realization that, in the next few years, our growing and extremely active Sprouts are going to be consuming massive amounts of food, I decided that we needed some newer recipes. Ideally, those which feature “clean” food and little or no processed ingredients.
On a brief Googling quest, I stumbled onto Smitten Kitchen. I love that Deb is very frank about being wary of “excessively fussy foods and/or pretentious ingredients”. Without reading the full recipe (ha!), I landed on her adaptation of Charles Phan’s chicken pho (he wrote the well known Slanted Door). Deb recommends a variety of spices to try in the pho. We used cinnamon, star anise, coriander seeds, and cloves. The ingredients weren’t too extravagant, although I wasn’t expecting the star anise to be so pricy. If you try the recipe for yourself, be warned that, unless you really love the taste of licorice, it only takes one star anise. The recipe was really quite easy, but more time consuming than expected (I am unfortunately notorious for not reading recipes thoroughly and then getting myself into hot water as a result). Needless to say, I’m glad that I decided to make it on a weekend. I made the broth on Saturday and we ate on Sunday. The entire time, I was desperately hoping that all of my hard work would pay off and that the Sprouts would not greet this new meal with an collective “yuck”! The great thing about the recipe is that for our family of five, we had enough for everyone to enjoy seconds and I still had enough broth left over to freeze for one to two additional meals. And, much to my relief, all three of the kids loved it! Whew. Sometimes risk taking is worth it. My two who are very texture oriented liked the chicken especially. Its very tender since you boil a quartered whole chicken to make the broth. And the mixture of all of the flavors from the spices, lime, basil, and cilantro were absolutely amazing! The next time around, we’re making double the amount of shallots. Yum.
P.S. My apologies for the un-acceneted “o” in pho…. I don’t have the capability to accent letters on this computer!