Slow-Cooker Chicken Pho

13 Reviews
From: EatingWell Soups Special Issue April 2016

Chicken Pho, a classic Vietnamese soup, is a perfect recipe for a slow cooker. The chicken and seasonings of star anise, cloves and ginger simmer all day in the crock pot, welcoming you home with an alluring aroma. Serve with the essential garnishes for pho soup—fresh herbs, bean sprouts, chiles and lime—and let everyone top their own. Serve chile-garlic sauce for those who want more heat.

Ingredients 6 servings

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  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth (two 32-ounce boxes)
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 10 whole star anise (see Tip)
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bone-in chicken breasts (about 2 1/2 pounds total), skin removed, trimmed
  • 6 ounces wide rice noodles
  • 6 cups chopped bok choy
  • 2 cups mung bean sprouts
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 fresh Thai chile or serrano, thinly sliced
  • 1 lime, cut into 6 wedges

Preparation

  • Active

  • Ready In

  1. Combine broth, brown sugar, fish sauce, star anise, cloves, ginger and cinnamon stick in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Add chicken breasts, meat-side down. Cover and cook on High for 4 hours (or on Low for 8 hours).
  2. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Remove spices and discard. Add noodles and bok choy to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on High for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove the chicken from the bone and shred with two forks. When the noodles are tender, stir in the shredded chicken. Serve bowls of soup with bean sprouts, basil, mint, cilantro, sliced chile and lime wedges on the side so everyone can add their own toppings.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Combine seasonings with broth; prep chicken; cover and refrigerate separately for up to 1 day.
  • Equipment: 5- to 6-quart slow cooker
  • Add star anise, named for its star-shaped pods, to Asian-inspired dishes to lend distinctive licorice-like flavor. Look for it with other bulk spices in natural-foods stores, in Asian markets or online at penzeys.com.
  • For easy cleanup, try a slow-cooker liner. These heat-resistant, disposable liners fit neatly inside the insert and help prevent food from sticking to the bottom and sides of your slow cooker.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: about 2 cups
  • Per serving: 352 calories; 6 g fat(2 g sat); 3 g fiber; 39 g carbohydrates; 38 g protein; 81 mcg folate; 75 mg cholesterol; 7 g sugars; 4 g added sugars; 4494 IU vitamin A; 30 mg vitamin C; 163 mg calcium; 6 mg iron; 594 mg sodium; 954 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (92% daily value), Vitamin C (80% dv), Iron (30% dv), Potassium (29% dv), Folate (21% dv), Magnesium (18% dv), Calcium (17% dv).
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 2 1/2
  • Exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 1/2 other carbohydrate, 1 vegetable, 4 lean meat

Reviews 13

August 08, 2016
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By: Edna Pearce
This is my go-to recipe for the spices needed. I use the chicken back and necks to make broth in the crock pot and then can it. This makes for a quick soup base. I agree that cooking the noodles and bok choi for 30 minutes is way too long.
June 21, 2016
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By: Tofu Kitty
Perfect! I'm really glad I threw in an extra chicken breast and a few more noodles because my family ate every last bite. I've never seen my husband have seconds AND thirds until I made this. My stepsons claimed that it was better than their favorite local pho joint. My chicken wasn't overcooked at all, but my chicken breasts were very large and totaled about 3.5lbs. My grocery store didn't have whole star anise, I'm sure that would've made the broth even better. I'll be making this again. I garnished with what was available to me: fresh jalapeno, mint and lime.
August 30, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
Exellent and time saving I looked at a lot of pho recipes, and although the more authentic versions probably make fabulous pho, this recipe turned out really well, great flavors. Served it to two friends who loved it as well. Pros: Use ready-made broth, slow cooker means less monitoring Cons: none
September 08, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
Even thighs were over cooked! I used boneless thighs and they were dry and over cooked. I agree noodles and bok choy (or whatever veggie you use) should NOT be cooked for 30 minutes. Might try chicken with skin on it. Pros: Broth was very flavorful, but needed salt Cons: Needed salt
July 13, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
Lots of flavor, but needs tweaks Do these instead, and you'll end up with a terrific soup: - Use thighs instead of breasts and don't trim the fat. More fat = tastier broth. - Cook the noodles separately and add them in prior to serving. - I like my bok choy and bean sprouts al dente, so I added both to the crock pot 5-10 minutes before serving (not 30 and zero, respectively). - Go easy on the mint, it can really dominate if you use too much.
March 04, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
This dish turned out perfectly when I made it!! Chicken was juicy, tender and full of the flavor from the spices! My husband and I will have this again! Pros: Easy to make!
January 26, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
Over cooked Had to toss the entire batch. My husband and I tried to eat this for dinner one night. The chicken was terrible, completely dried out. Would have been cheaper and 1000x better to have gone to our favorite Vietnamese restaurant and ordered the Pho. Pros: none Cons: over cooked chicken, weak broth
November 25, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
Threw this out - very disappointed My husband and I regularly eat Vietnamese food, so I wanted to try out this recipe. I used all fresh and/or new ingredients, and followed all measurements. I cannot place what it was, but something in the broth was way too pungent (too much star anise, maybe?). When my husband smelled the broth, he told me that it reminded him of places that do not make good pho, and that he did not want to even try tasting it. Ended up dumping the mess and went out to eat. This was disappointing, as every other recipe that I have tried from Eating Well has been wonderful. Pros: easy to put together Cons: the broth
November 07, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
Don't add those noodles to the crock pot! Pro tip: do NOT add the noodles and bok choy to the crock pot on high for a half-hour. The noodles will soak up ALL your broth, resulting in a big slimy mess. The bok choy will turn grey and disgusting. Everything was fine up until that step, but it was almost inedible after that. Here's what you need to do: Place the noodles into a pot of hot water until they're slightly pliable, but still stiff (yet bendy). Then remove. Add these noodles and the fresh bok choy to your serving bowl and THEN ladle the hot pho broth and chicken over the top. The bok choy will remain crisp and the noodles won't disintegrate into a soggy mess. Serve with the trimmings, and don't forget Sriracha and Hoisin sauce! Pros: Broth is decent Cons: Noodles are a glutinous mess