Today’s simple Turkey Meatball Pho is the first in my “Celebrating Food” series this year; a group of fabulous bloggers and I will choose one food holiday each month to celebrate and each will bring you our unique spin on the theme. February 4th is “National Soup Day”. Be sure to scroll down and click through to see the other bloggers’ beautiful soups.
When a soup is so beautiful and fragrant and sustaining that you forget it is pretty darned good for you, that is a successful soup. Such is the case with Turkey Meatball Pho. This lovely, simple soup is a quick version of my most favourite soup of all time; pho. Traditional pho broth takes from 6 to 10 hours to simmer and is worth every second of that time. Sadly, I don’t often have that kind of time to commit to the ultimate pho, but I’m happy to report that my fast and furious approach with this Turkey Meatball Pho scratches my pho itch even without spending hours upon hours tending a broth. Tender, flavour-packed baked Asian turkey meatballs with scads of fresh basil, cilantro, sliced green onion, and fresh bean sprouts, a few paper thin slices of fresh jalapenos, and a couple of lime wedges are perched on top of a generous mound of rice vermicelli noodles then drowned in a fragrant, aromatic broth. The purist can stop there. The traditionalist can drizzle some hoisin sauce and sriracha together in a bowl for dunking their meatballs. The lazy weirdos like me can just drizzle the hoisin and sriracha over the top and dive in like they mean it.
I’m all for diving in like I mean it.
- Pho broth is unique among soups. It is made with charred onions, ginger, cinnamon sticks, star anise, whole coriander seeds, and whole cloves. The first time I made it at home, my husband walked into the kitchen and announced, “It smells like a Cinnabon in here.” I told him it was soup. He gave me a look that said in no uncertain terms that he was not looking forward to dinner. I have to give him credit, though… he will try everything and keep an open mind at least once. So he tried it. And he loved it and he said so. If you haven’t had pho before, stay strong. Keep making it as specified. The aroma may make your head spin if you’re not used to it, but you may find your new favourite soup! I promise it doesn’t taste like Cinnabon soup.
- When making Turkey Meatball Pho, you want to keep in mind that you need very large bowls to accommodate the noodles and generous amounts of toppings and broth. It isn’t unusual to have a full quart of broth per serving of pho. When you dig into a bowl, you’ll soon realize why the super-generous portions are so common.
- When it comes to pho of any variety, fresh herbs and lime are absolutely, positively key. There’s a beautiful alchemy and interplay of temperatures and textures from the hot, complex broth, noodles, and meatballs plus the cold, fresh, bright herbs and lime juice. It’s pretty much heaven in a bowl.
Use these to make Turkey Meatball Pho:
- Soup Pot
- Soup Ladle
- Mesh Strainer
- Extra Large Soup Bowls
- Hoisin Sauce
- Asian soup spoons
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Turkey Meatball Pho with scads of herbs, green onions, bean sprouts, paper thin jalapenos, & lime wedges are perched on rice noodles in a aromatic broth.
- 2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
- 1 cinnamon stick, roughly broken
- 4 whole star anise
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 quart turkey or chicken broth
- 1 (3-inch size) piece of ginger, roughly chopped
- 1 bunch of scallions or green onions, white parts only (reserve the green parts for garnishing the soup), char the white parts over an open burner, with a torch, or under a broiler
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1-5 slices fresh jalapeno pepper (depending on your spice tolerance)
- 1 handful pho rice noodles (soaked or cooked according to package directions)
- 5 to 8 Asian Turkey Meatballs
- 1 generous handful bean sprouts
- sliced scallions or green onions (green parts only) to taste
- several sprigs of fresh basil
- sprigs of fresh cilantro
- 1-3 lime wedges
- sriracha and/or hoisin sauce to taste
- Place a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium low heat. Add all of the spices and stir them until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Carefully add the stock or broth; it will sputter quite a bit. Turn the heat to high and add the remaining broth ingredients. When it reaches a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered for 20-30 minutes. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve into another saucepot or soup pot. Keep it at a simmer while you assemble your bowls and garnishes.
- Lay desired amount of jalapeno slices in the bottom of each bowl. Top with a generous amount of rice noodles. Lay the Asian Turkey Meatballs over the noodles and pour the boiling broth over top. Give a quick stir, then pile on bean sprouts, sliced scallions (green onions), basil, and cilantro. Squeeze a couple of lime wedges and let them rest in the broth to lend to the flavour. Serve with sriracha and/or hoisin sauce. It's best to serve this the traditional way: with chopsticks AND a soup spoon. You can use a fork in lieu of chopsticks if you wish. Slurping is encouraged!
23 Comforting Soup, Chili, & Chowder Recipes
These recipes were created by my fellow Celebrating Food Holidays bloggers especially for today. Please check them out!
Are you looking for more fabulous comforting soup recipes? Check out 11 more wonderful recipes from myself and some more friends!