Things You Can Do With Birds: Turkey Pho

One of the very best things about Facebook is the serendipitous discovery of amazing-sounding food. When I posted the link for our five Mexican dishes to make from turkey leftovers, chef Dee Nguyen of Laguna Hills' Break of Dawn (OC Weekly's Best Restaurant 2010, remember?) left a comment that mentioned turkey phở.

Now, I don't know about you, but that sounds like reason in itself to eat not quite all of a turkey. I asked for the recipe, and he tried to distill this genius into a recipe for us.

Don't be slavish to this recipe, incidentally; chefs don't exactly walk around their professional kitchens measuring a teaspoon of this and a tablespoon of that into the pots. Says Nguyen, “Twice a year we eat whole roasted turkey. My favorite part is the left over carcass becoming phở broth.”

Turkey Phở
Dee Nguyen, Break of Dawn Restaurant


1 turkey carcass
2 onions
2 thumb-size knobs ginger
3 star anise
5 cloves
1 Asian pear
Salt, pepper, and fish sauce
3 shallots, sliced and caramelized
Phở (flat rice) noodles, steeped in hot water to soften
Leftover turkey meat


1. Roast the onion and the ginger over the fire (use the stove).
2. In
a stock pot, cover the carcass, onion, ginger, star anise, cloves, and pear with
cold water.
3. Bring the stock to a boil, then discard this first liquid. This
step will eliminate unwanted flavor from previous marinade and any
impurity that might cause broth to be cloudy.
4. Add more water and simmer the stock for five
hours. This is the maximum time allowed to extract flavor from the bird.
5. Strain
the broth after 5 hours, then add salt, pepper, and fish sauce to taste.
6. Put a pile of noodles in a bowl, cover with soup, and garnish with leftover turkey and shallots.
7. Customize the bowl to your taste with herbs, chiles, bean sprouts, citrus, whatever you think will taste best.

Gobble, gobble!

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