Pho Sho’

As always- slave to peasant efficiency that I am- with the carcass of a roasted bird in the fridge, I wanted to make a brothocentric meal based on the remains of our Christmas duck. Heather made turkey pho after Thanksgiving, and then Hank, inspired by her post, made wild duck pho, so it was only a matter of time before I caught the faux-Vietnamese virus (get it?) and did the same. The interweb: it’s like herpes, but in a good way.

I simmered the duck remains on low heat with ginger, garlic, star anise, lemongrass, a couple of cloves, and a bunch of pink peppercorns for about three hours, then strained it. That night we had the broth with some udon and a few garnishes- basically blanched pea shoots and some leftover sautéed collard greens. And it was good. Then, last night we went to a potluck, where I pressure cooked fat slices of black radish with more of the duck broth, and made more of the chocolate mousse, served with the same three garnishes as on Xmas. Nothing says “holidays” like the fawning (bordering on leg-humping) adulation of a room full of people.

And tonight, because this broth is just that good as a foundation for almost anything (I spent far too long anguishing about whether to go the risotto route, or soup, or braise another meat in it) I used it twice in as many dishes. There was some ground pork in the freezer, so I divided it and used some for the base of stir-fried broccoli finished with a flour-thickened sauce of mandarin orange juice, ginger, garlic, broth, rice vinegar, and soy sauce. The rest I mixed well with more garlic and ginger, plus 5-spice, curry powder, and scallions, then tucked into wontons and placed in the steamer. Note to self- and all of you- use the bamboo steamer with parchment circles; the dumplings, they stick to the metal steamer like Zell Miller does to Rush Limbaugh’s medicine cabinet.

With a simple supplement of some tosa soy sauce and a couple of drops of sesame oil, the broth proved a worthy medium for the pungent dumplings, and a garnish of cilantro and chervil that I picked because today was freakishly balmy and melted most of the snow, so getting the plastic off the beds was easy. It’s not pretty in the garden right now, but there’s still a lot of food growing there, and with careful editing it’s well worth the effort. To drink, a NY chard that I will be reviewing in the very near future.

8 comments to Pho Sho’

  • genevelyn

    This post proves it isn’t a hassle to cook. Muliple meals from a bowl of soup. Take-out doesn’t carry that promise

  • Zoomie

    The soup in the blue bowl looks heavenly – and I love that bowl, by the way – it gives a nice “TA-DA!” to anything you’ve shown in it. Something about those blue rays that lead the eye in to the deliciousness.

  • Hunter Angler Gardener Cook

    Ooh…pretty! Bet you needed to skim that broth plenty with a domestic duck. Nice to know we can all lean on each other for inspiration.

  • jesse

    *drool* I am planning to make pot stickers for my next meal, thanks to your post.

  • Heather

    I love the dumplings in your version. Dumplings make any herpes taste better.

  • cookiecrumb

    Holy shi’!

    Agreeing with Heather, herpes is fine. Remember how much fun you had getting it?

  • peter

    Genevelyn: Having a good broth or two on hand is the single most important thing when it comes to making home cooking both easy and good.

    Zoomie: I got them in Chinatown years ago; there’s a still-bigger size that I covet. It’s the one-point perspective that really makes the food pop.

    Hank: Actually, because so much rendered off in the roasting, it wasn’t that bad.

    Jesse: Happy to oblige. Your latest post is hysterical.

    Blanche: They do indeed.

    CC: Speak for yourself.

  • Jo

    I learned to use lettuce leaves as my between dumpling and steaming vessel buffer. Works a treat.

Yours Truly



I'm a painter who happens to also spend a lot of time growing, making, and writing about food. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of frugal peasant cooking techniques and haute improvisation. And I have a really great personality.

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