Disclosure: This post is part of a partnership with Pacific Foods. You can see other recipes Pacific Foods has sponsored and whip them up this weekend by making our hazelnut peach ice cream or mango spiced shrimp tacos!
What is one summer farmers market item you've been waiting for since last year? The thing that you just can not buy in good faith at any other time of the year. For me, it's tomatoes. I can't bring myself to buy a tomato before July and after September here in Virginia. It's not the same! And I think that's what makes seasonal produce so special. You have to wait. To be patient. So when that time of year does finally roll around, you can't wait to enjoy that food in everything. Everything, including what it typically does not go with. Which is the point of this recipe: we took Pho, a traditional Vietnamese soup to which noodles and thinly sliced meat are added, and did it Southern US style. Instead of a meat, we did Pacific Foods Korean BBQ Seitan and for a fresh twist we did tomatoes, okra, corn, jalapeños and herbs. The liquid part of this soup is an Asian inspired pho base made with Pacific Foods Bone Broth (chicken) and spices like ginger and star anise.
There are many ways to riff on this recipe and I encourage you to test out other topping options by seeing what is in your local farmers market!
First, let's talk about seitan. Which my auto-correct keeps wanting to change to Satan as I write this post. Seitan is a plant-based protein (vegan) that has a delicate but meaty texture. In this preparation I pan fried it, but seitan can go into a chili, stir fry, sandwich or even on a salad. If you look at the Pacific Foods Korean BBQ Seitan, you'll see sprouted lentils on the ingredients list along with wheat gluten, making the product also soy-free for those with allergies. You'll get 16 grams of protein per serving in this ready-to-eat product so it's definitely a great pantry staple to throw in your shopping mix. While you can also buy 'plain' seitan, the BBQ seasoning was the perfect addition to our Southern Pho Bowl.
For the liquid base of the Pho dish, you'll be starting with Pacific Foods Organic Bone Broth (Chicken) and adding spices. With a bone broth you're getting a slow-simmer product that's also cooked with onion, vinegar and rosemary. The bone broth naturally has protein but what really makes me heart-eye-emoji is the vinegar addition. It's sippable by itself. But not in July (100 degrees...).
Now what about noodles? I need to be ultra clear about the noodles because the first time I interacted with rice noodles (vs wheat pasta noodles in Italian dishes), I could not read the Asian characters on the package and cooked the rice noodles like Italian pasta. That is, boil continuously for several minutes. NOPE. Do not do that. You barely need to cook rice noodles and the size alters the cooking time greatly. If you've ever seen the vermicelli style rice noodles (very thin and fine...like angel hair pasta) you are basically going to dip them in boiling water and remove them. For larger noodles, like the ones we are using today you'll place them in a bowl or pan of boiling water for about 6 minutes and remove them from the burner. Because you are going to add them to a warm broth, I personally recommend closer to a 4 minute time knowing they will continue to soften pre-service in the broth.
On to the recipe!
Summer Southern Pho
Prep note: Broth can be made ahead of time and reheated.
/// Ingredients ///
- 1 quart Pacific Foods chicken bone broth
- 1 T brown sugar
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 1 star anise
- 2 cloves
- 1 cardamom
- 3 black peppercorns
- 1 medium yellow onion
- fresh ginger, 3 inches
- 1 pack Pacific Foods Korean BBQ Seitan
- vegetable oil
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 1 ear of corn, fresh
- 1 medium tomato
- 4 okra
- 1 large leaf fresh basil
- 1 jalapeño, sliced
- 8 oz (dry) rice noodles
- fresh lime
/// Directions /// In a large pan add bone broth, brown sugar, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, cardamom and black pepper corns. Simmer for 1 hour. While liquid is simmering, line a baking sheet and place 1 whole onion (unpeeled) and 3 inch segment of fresh ginger. Bake at 325 F for 1 hour. Towards the end of the cooking time for the liquid base and the onion and ginger in the oven, drain seitan and slice. Heat a cast iron skillet with a small amount of neutral flavored oil (eg vegetable oil) and place seitan in. Once it is set down, do not move it for several minutes. Flip seitan and brown other side. Remove from skillet once both sides are additionally browned and heated through.
Begin to cut corn, tomato, okra, jalapeño and herbs for service. Co ok rice noodles to package instructions and rinse (these took about 6 minutes in water that had been brought to a boil and removed from the burner.). Once an hour has passed, remove the onion and ginger from the oven. Cut the onion in half and peel and add to simmering broth along with at least 1 1/2 inches of ginger. More can be added if more 'spice' is desired. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Strain broth to remove spices. Stir in fish sauce to broth. In a bowl add noodles, ladle in broth and place a fan of several slices of seitan. Top with tomato, okra, corn, basil and jalapeño with basil and green onion, salt and pepper. Serve with a wedge of fresh lime.
I love that this is a one bowl meal and it's so filling! The seitan protein is very satisfying while the noodles are a true crowd pleaser and a little something different for many people! With the fresh ingredients to top it off, it's also highly personalized (more tomatoes, less jalapeño for me). And the base is just one of I feel like hundreds of ways you can use chicken bone broth in your kitchen. Today we added some Asian cuisine spices but tomorrow, what if we spice it up for a Central American dish?
How would you top off this dish?
Dietitian Nutritionist and cookbook author sharing flavor-forward recipes and simplified science-driven wellness.