The hearty soup is a nice break between the big feast and leftovers.
Today is Thanksgiving, and in my house the day is centered around cooking. Of course, the beauty of the meal is that it usually yields any number of spin-off meals utilizing the endless amounts of leftovers.
Personally, I'm a big fan of leftovers ... the day after. Beyond that, though, the flavors of Thanksgiving begin to wear a little thin. I need at least one day's break before I can rally the proper enthusiasm necessary to see them to the finish line.
During my leftovers "hiatus," I try to make something that is the polar opposite on the culinary spectrum. Vietnamese pho fits the bill perfectly. Pho (pronounced FUH) is a brothy noodle soup, packed with the bright flavors of Vietnam, which is, literally and figuratively, a world away from our traditional Thanksgiving feast.
The beauty of pho not only lies in the flavor, but also in the construction. This is one of those meals that everyone gets to make just the way they like it.
The broth is a flavor powerhouse, made with chicken stock that's simmered with browned onions, loads of ginger, alongside cinnamon, cloves and star anise.
The diner chooses the garnishes -- rice noodles, sliced steak, bean sprouts, fresh herbs like cilantro, basil or mint, and chiles -- and then the broth is poured over it. I like to serve the broth in a teapot, which allows my family to pass it around and pour the steaming liquid over their brimming bowls.
So enjoy your brief break from leftovers. You'll be thankful to see them again the next day.
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