At last I harvested my one and only pumpkin of the year, (See Kitchen Garden No.5) and I wanted to use it as quickly as possible. So on the day, (New Years Eve) I was making Vietnamese Turkey Phở and I had some of this fragrant Pho stock, leftover. Phở has a spicy, scented and smokey stock base, which you obtain by roasting spices and vegetables over a naked flame. (Phở stock, and Turkey Phở recipes) When cooked in the Phở the pumpkin gave itself up completely and the soft, juicy flesh melted when you slipped it in your mouth.
Enough Pumpkin Phở for 4
You’ll need a large pan and you will need to make the flavoured Phở stock first.
You’ll also need…
1 small pumpkin or butternut squash, about 850 g weight (about 550 g peeled and deseeded)
1800 ml chicken or turkey Phở stock
250 g cooked chicken or turkey
6 spring onions
1 bunch coriander, about 50 g with stalks (keep any stalk or root for the stock)
1 small bunch fresh basil, about 20 g with stalks (see little notes below)
200 g pak choy or 100 g beansprouts
50 g very thin rice noodles, like vermicelli.
1-2 tablespoons fish Sauce (Nam pla)
Freshly ground black pepper
Accompanied by… Sriracha Chili Sauce is an intense (the chillies for Sriracha are sun dried) and fiery chili sauce served as a traditional accompaniment for Phở alongside Hoisin sauce, and sliced fresh chillies. All optional of course, but they all add more layers of flavor.
1. Cut a sliver off the top and bottom of the pumpkin with a large serrated knife, then sit upright on a board and slice the skin off in long strips from top to bottom.
2. Now cut the pumpkin into quarters and using a spoon, scoop and scrape out any seeds. Chop the flesh into 2.5 cm cubes.
3. Pour the stock into a pan, place on heat, bring to boil, drop in the chopped pumpkin, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced slightly and the pumpkin is very tender.
4. Meanwhile use 2 forks to pull the turkey or chicken meat into fine shreds.
5. Cook the rice noodles as per packet instructions, them drain and set aside while you finish the Phở. Add a tablespoon of the fish sauce to the stock and season to taste with pepper and more salt and sauce if needed.
9. Peel and thinly slice the shallots and spring onions and add to the stock. Quarter the lemon, squeeze them into the pot and drop in the squeezed out skins. Pull the leaves from the coriander and basil and chop roughly.
10. Slice the pak choy thinly, if using and add all to the pot, (or if using beansprouts add them here too) shredded chicken and noodles then reheat. Stir, season to taste and serve.
Vietnamese/Thai Basil/ Holy Basil/Sweet Basil
The basil traditionally used for Phở is Vietnamese Basil, which is similar to other South-east Asian basils, (Thai Basil or Holy Basil, available from South-east Asian supermarkets) which have more of a clove undertone (that this Pho depends on, along with an aniseed flavour too) than the regular European basil we’re used to, but you can use that one too.