Leftover Turkey Pho

Two nights ago, when Thanksgiving dinner was over, all I could think about was this turkey pho. I know the blogosphere is chock full of great recipes in which you can put your turkey leftovers to use, but ever since I started making turkey pho last year, it’s pretty much the only thing I want to do with mine.

I was planning to make the pho the next day for breakfast, and I really couldn’t wait.

Turkey Pho

So I set aside all the leftover meat. Then I got out my giant stockpot, filled it with the picked over turkey carcass, and popped in some large chunks of fresh carrots, onion, and celery. I added some thyme, rosemary, and parsley, a little apple cider vinegar, and lots and lots of water. A short while later, the liquid was bubbling nicely and it was filling my house with the most heavenly aroma. I was fantasizing about how good the stock and the subsequent pho was going to be, and was just about to get started with the big post-Thanksgiving clean-up, when my 8 year old daughter started screaming.

She’d managed to injure her finger pretty badly in our basement. I am not 100% sure what happened: let’s just say my kids were doing something they thought was fun, but that they knew was probably not very safe, and the treadmill was involved. The finger in question looked pretty banged up and was VERY painful (she wailed for more than 2 hours), but we decided that driving 45 minutes to the closest ER to wait for goodness knows how long was probably not how we wanted to spend the rest of Thanksgiving.

I promised to take her to the walk-in clinic in town first thing if it was still hurting terribly the next morning.

It was…and it’s broken. She’s in pain and I feel terrible about that, but I am glad it’s just a small fracture. It will heal soon.

So I didn’t get to have pho for breakfast. By the time we got home from the doctor and I got the clean-up- that-never-happened-after-Thanksgiving-dinner done, it was the afternoon. I made sure Maddie was comfortable, cooked up the pho, then sat down to enjoy my soup. Remember that Calgon commericial? Calgon…take me away? Well this pho was calgon in a bowl for me: the exotic, nourishing broth and its contents transported me away from the worry and stress of the previous hours.

I changed up the spice mix from last year’s recipe just a bit, I added homegrown daikon radish and purple pak choi greens this time, and I used the more traditional rice noodles instead of cellophane noodles this time. It’s a very adaptable recipe, though, and I urge you to try it if you have leftover turkey and stock in the house. I for one will be eating this for the next few days, quite possible for each and every meal, until my leftovers run out.

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Turkey Pho

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Recipe for Pho with Turkey Leftovers

Inspired by Steamy Kitchen
Serves 2

Ingredients

  • * 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • * 5 whole star anise
  • * 2-3 cinnamon sticks
  • * one 2-3 inch chunk of ginger peeled and smashed with side of knife
  • * 1 quart homemade turkey stock or homemade or store-bought chicken stock
  • * 1-2 cups sliced daikon radish- optional but very cleansing especially after a heavy meal (like Thanksgiving dinner)
  • * 1 bunch green onions slice the green parts and cook them in the soup; mince the white parts and use them as a garnish
  • * 1 teaspoon brown sugar or more to taste
  • * 1 tablespoon fish sauce or more to taste
  • * 1-2 cups dark leafy greens shredded (I used purple pak choi from my garden, but kale works well, too)
  • * 1/2 pound leftover turkey breast cut into chunks or shredded
  • * approx. 2 oz. flat dried rice noodles or use 1 bunch of cellophane/bean thread noodles
  • * 1-2 tablespoons cilantro chopped- for garnish (optional)
  • * 1/2 lime cut into wedges
  • * Sriracha chili sauce to taste

Instructions

  • 1. Heat a cast-iron skillet or frying pan over medium heat. Add the coriander seeds, star anise, cinnamon sticks and ginger and toast until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Immediately spoon out the spices into a bowl to avoid burning them and set aside.
  • 2. In a large pot, add the toasted spices and all ingredients from stock through fish sauce and bring to a boil.
  • 3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 20 minutes, skimming the surface frequently.
  • 4. Taste the broth and add more sugar or fish sauce, if needed. Strain the broth and discard the solids. Add the greens and cook for 1-2 more minutes. Remove from heat.
  • 5. Add the shredded turkey and the rice noodles. Allow to sit for a few minutes while the noodles soften.
  • 6. Ladle the broth into bowls. Divide the greens, noodles, and turkey evenly into each bowl.
  • 7. Sprinkle on the minced green onion and optional cilantro. Add sriracha and squeeze lime juice to taste before eating.

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28 thoughts on “Leftover Turkey Pho”

  1. Thanks for the recipe! I just made it for dinner. I did not have turkey leftover so I grill 3 chicken thighs, put anise seed instead of the whole star, also added cumin seed because I only had one Tbsp of coriander. OMG! Delicious!

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  6. This —> let’s just say my kids were doing something they thought was fun, but that they knew was probably not very safe

    happens in my house far too frequently! But your soup looks wonderful. I just did the same thing with leftover roast beef from Christmas.

    Reply
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  9. Tried this last night, omitting the sugar and radish. I used a chicken breast that I cooked just before using. It was amazing. Thanks for the recipe!
    x

    Reply
  10. Positively, absolutely the best Pho I have ever tasted! (and I consider myself an expert). This recipe came along just in time. Had developed a head cold and it has really helped me. Have eaten the last four meals! Thanks so much! Plan on making the Mung Bean Stew tonight. Love your recipes because I always seem to have everything on hand.

    Reply
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  12. i love recipes where you can throw a whole lot of things in and it turns out fantastic. Sounds like a great way to use leftover meat!

    Reply
  13. Winnie, so sorry to hear about your daughter’s mishap. I also want you to know that I was rooting for you so I sure miss your posts at PFB.

    Reply
  14. I’m so sorry to hear about your daughters finger! I hope she feels better soon.

    This pho looks great. Perfect for leftovers.

    Reply
  15. Oh I am so sorry to hear about your daughter’s finger. It is amazing how easily little kids can get hurt! I hope that it starts to mend soon. On another note…your pho looks delicious. I can see why you would be so eager to make it! I may have to give it a try tonight! Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  16. You’re poor daughter. I hate when playtime goes bad. You’re turkey pho is a great idea. Different than all of these turkey chilis that are floating around the blogosphere. Thanks for spicing things up. Love your photos!

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  17. Poor Maddie :-( Actually two of my students had treadmill accidents this past week too – must have been something in the air? I hope she’s well on the mend by now. If her mum continues to feed her delicious food like this, I am sure she will be ;-)

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  18. Oh your poor little girl! Hope she’s healing – and I’m sure this pho was very comforting to both you and her! I love the recipe – most especially since it has daikon radish – one of my absolute favorites! I have my stock pot bubbling away with a nice turkey stock – I hope to try this!

    Reply
  19. What a great idea. I eat pho on a weekly basis and never thought of doing it with the leftover turkey. Nice work. Sorry to hear about your daughter, hope she is ok now.

    Reply
  20. Perfect idea! Yum. I’m making a basic turkey soup, but I love the pho concept. Will have to wait until next year… Hope your daughter is healing well.

    Reply
  21. So sorry to hear about your daughter’s accident. Treadmills can be dangerous. You turkey pho sounds delicious. Pho is such comfort food.

    Reply
  22. Sorry about your daughter’s hand. Wow, send her my kind regards. It was this pho that brought me over cause I have loads of Turkey (spare) parts to use up!!!!!!!! will let you know how it goes. Have a blessed Thanksgiving weekend

    Reply
  23. That photo (like all the ones you seem to post) is beautiful. SOrry to hear about the finger :( Reminds me of when I broke my foot in college and spent the night in tears before going to urgent care the next morning.

    WHen it hurts badly for multiple hours, that a good indicator of a break.

    I hear turkey soup has healing powers though. :) Wish my mom could cook like you when I was a kid!

    Reply
  24. Winnie – Sorry to hear about your daughter’s injury….ouch! Lovely pho, certainly one of the best left-over recipes on the web. Thx, and Happy Holidays! – S

    Reply