Turkey à la Pho


  • 3/4 teaspoons  five spice powder
  • whole star anise
  • 1 tablespoon  annatto seeds
  • 1/3 teaspoon  red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 teaspoons  cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon  peppercorns
  •   8-10 whole cloves
  • 4 quarts  water
  • 3 stalks  celery
  • cloves garlic, minced
  • medium-sized onion, quartered
  •   One 4 ½- to 5-pound bone-in whole cooked turkey breast, thawed if frozen
  •   One 2-inch piece unpeeled ginger, pounded
  •   One 14-ounce package dried rice vermicelli
  • scallion, sliced thinly

I put "à la Pho" as a disclaimer because I only used the spices I had available in my pantry. Also, I don't like putting mint and other vegetables in my pho, so this is just my take on the Vietnamese dish. Nevertheless, the long hours of simmering lent a comforting feeling, topped with turkey it certainly hits the spot like an authentic bowl of pho would.


Place all of the spices in a skillet over medium heat. Toast for 1-2 minutes, shaking occasionally, and put the spices in a piece of cheesecloth. Tie up the cheesecloth with kitchen twine to form a pouch.

Fill a large stockpot with the water. Add the pouch of spices, celery, garlic, and onion and bring to a boil over high heat. Next, add the turkey and boil for 2 hours. 

Remove the turkey and let rest until cool enough to handle. Shred the meat and strain the soup. Return the soup to the pot and place over medium heat. Add the vermicelli and let simmer for 3-4 minutes or until the noodles are soft. Add the scallion and serve.

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