See the original post with photos here.
(Serves 10-12 adults with probably enough for leftovers)
2 medium chickens (to total 8-9 pounds)
3/4 pound of daikon radish
2 pounds jicama–avoid ones with mottled, cracked skins
piece of ginger large enough to fit in your palm
1 large yellow onion
1 stalk lemongrass
3 cinnamon sticks
3 whole cardamom
4 star anise
30 whole cloves
1/2 cup whole coriander
1 1/2 tablespoons fennel
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup salt
1/2 cup fish sauce
3 bags fresh pho noodles (dried are fine if fresh are unavailable)
Chopped green onion
1. Fill a large stock pot with 10 quarts (40 cups) of water and bring to a boil (this fills half of my stock pot).
2. As the water is coming to a boil, trim as much skin from the chickens as possible. Wash the carcasses and separate the meat from the carcass–the breasts, wings, drumsticks, and thighs. Set all of this aside.
3. Toast the onion (skin on) and ginger using the broiler of your oven. You can move forward in the instructions, but when the onion skin is dark brown and crispy on the outside, remove the onion and ginger from the oven. Peel the onion skin and trim the ends. Pound the ginger with a mallet and cut it in half lengthwise.
4. Peel the daikon radish and cut into fourths.
5. Peel the jicama and cut into eights. (Note: jicama skin is pretty thick. If your peeler won’t go through it, use a knife to peel.)
6. Pound the lemongrass with a mallet. Cut off the ends and discard. Slice the remainder and add to the pot.
7. When the water comes to a boil, add the chicken (breasts on top so you can fish them out when they’re finished cooking), jicama, daikon, roasted, trimmed onion, ginger, and the lemongrass.
8. Regularly skim the top of the pot to remove residue.
9. When the water returns to a full boil, reduce heat to medium-low. You want to see small bubbles in the pot, as this indicates a slow simmer. Turn the heat down if the stock is bubbling too much. Allow the pot to simmer for 30-45 minutes.
10. Set a medium-sized pan over medium heat. When the pan is warm, add the 3 cinnamon sticks, 3 whole cardamom, and 4 star anise. Toast until they are warm to the touch. Turn off the heat and add the 30 cloves, 1/2 cup coriander, and 1 1/2 tablespoons fennel. Add 2 cups water to the pan and turn the burner back to high heat. When the water boils, turn the heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and reserve liquid.
11. Remove the chicken pieces when they are cooked through. Shred the chicken breasts and some of the dark meat. We usually leave the meat on the drumsticks and serve them whole.
12. Add 1/2 cup sugar to the chicken stock.
13. When the sugar has dissolved, add 1/4 cup salt. IMPORTANT: Add the sugar before the salt.
14. Taste the broth and adjust the salt accordingly.
15. Add 1/2 cup fish sauce to the stock.
16. Add the reserved liquid from the spices to the pot.
Congratulations! You’ve just made homemade pho.
17. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add approximately 1 1/2 cups of pho noodles to the water, stir around for about 30 seconds, and drain immediately. Repeat for each additional serving.
18. Place the noodles, then some shredded chicken meat or a whole drumstick in a large bowl. Ladle enough broth to more than cover the noodles. Garnish with hoisin sauce, chili paste, Thai basil, green onion, cilantro, and bean sprouts to taste.