Turkey Meatball Pho

My husband absolutely loves vietnamese pho and it is one of the few stove top dishes he will help me make (he prefers cooking on the grill). While I eat vietnamese food every chance I get, it is difficult to find a restaurant where they have gluten free options. Even though the noodles are gluten free (rice), many restaurants marinate their meat in either soy sauce or hoisin sauce, which are not gluten free. I have even been places where they added soy sauce to the broth. So I make it at home!

Traditionally, pho is made with sliced meat. However, we prefer a meatball version, which I have seen on menus before. It’s great because because you can mix in extra flavorings there too. Also, ground meat is cheaper! This time around, we decided to make it even less traditional and go with  a leaner ground turkey, instead of beef.  Since I used poultry for the meat, I also opted to use chicken stock instead of traditional beef stock. You can easily change the recipe back to the beef, using like quantities of each.

Ingredients

1 quart gluten free chicken broth

2 shallots – 1 quartered, 1 sliced

1 piece star anise

1 tsp cilantro, dried

1 tsp sugar

1 inch piece of ginger, fresh – slice half, and mince the other half

2 shallots – 1 quartered, 1 sliced

1lb turkey, ground

1/2 cup gluten free bread crumbs (or crushed GF crackers)

1 tsp garlic, minced

1 medium jalapeno pepper (optional)

1/4 cup white onion, minced

6 oz rice noodles

1 oz bean sprouts, rinsed

Optional Garnishes: 

1/2 bunch Thai basil, shredded

1/2 bunch mint, shredded

1 lime, sliced in wedges

1 tbl peanuts, crushed

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To start, pour chicken stock into a 3 to 4 qt pot. Add the quartered shallot, sliced ginger, the star anise, and the cilantro. Simmer, while you make the meatballs.

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Next, heat up a frying pan with some oil. Mix turkey with the breadcrumbs, minced ginger, garlic, jalapeno, and onion. Roll into balls, preferably bite sized. *My husband made these much too large, so we had to cut them up to eat.*

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Brown the meatballs on all sides. They do not have to be cooked all the way through, yet. While they are browning, skim the shallot, ginger, and anise out of the broth.

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Once the meatballs are browned, add them to the broth and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through. While that simmers, boil some water in a large pot and cook the rice noodles. They cook very quickly, usually 6-10 minutes, so keep an eye on them. While the water is boiling, quickly fry the sliced shallots in the hot oil left over from the meatballs, then set them aside.

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Drain the noodles and divide them between two bowls. Top with bean sprouts. Add some meatballs and broth. Add desired garnish. We used basil, jalapeno slices, and the fried shallot. Lime wedges, mint, and peanuts are other great traditional options.

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