Last night Bill had to make room in the freezer for his pancetta and guanciale, so he pulled out all the chicken bones he’d been saving and made stock. Today he typed “chicken broth” in the Cooks Illustrated search and browsed the soup recipes, settling on a Vietnamese-style soup.

The recipe adds smashed ginger, smashed garlic, star anise (Bill substituted fennel seed based on pantry availability), fish sauce, soy, and a bit of sugar to the stock, brings it to a boil, adds the boneless, skinless chicken thighs and simmers. Bill also added a strip of lemon zest to mimic a bit of lemongrass. After ten minutes at simmer, remove and slice the thighs. To serve, layer noodles, napa cabbage and chicken in the bowl and ladle in the broth. Top with an array of aromatic garnish–sliced green onions, cilantro/coriander, torn mint, sliced jalapeno and a squeeze of lemon (no limes at Tesco!).

Bill called it faux phở.The recipe was from a series on enlivening canned chicken broth, so starting with homemade broth made a wonderfully flavorful soup. We adore cilantro and eat it at every opportunity. Some Thai basil would also be great in this soup, as would some bean sprouts.

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