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Overhead view of a bowl of slow-cooker duck pho in a shallow, patterned bowl with ornate, patterned pattern chopsticks sitting on top. The soup is garnished with Thai basil, sliced scallions, and a lime wedge. A small jar of nuoc cham sits to one side.

Slow-Cooker Duck Pho

Slow-Cooker Duck Pho features delicious, rich, broth accented by bright, fresh herbs. A great use of leftover roast duck.

Course Entree
Cuisine Asian
Keyword duck pho, pho, pho noodle soup, vietnamese noodle soup
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 1 day 20 minutes
Total Time 1 day 1 hour
Servings 4

Ingredients

FOR THE SLOW-COOKER DUCK STOCK

  • 1 roast duck carcass (see Recipe Note #1)
  • 1/4 cup dried shiitake mushrooms (optional)
  • 2 lemongrass stalks trimmed to 3 inches (including the bulb)
  • 1 inch section ginger root
  • 5 star anise pods
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 onion halved
  • 3 garlic cloves peeled and crushed
  • 2 cups chicken broth

FOR THE SLOW-COOKER DUCK PHO SOUP

  • 6 cups duck stock (strained and degreased, from above)
  • 1/2 onion large, sliced into thin quarter rings
  • 3 tbsp cilantro stems (optional, chopped)
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms (optional; sliced)
  • 2 cups roasted duck meat chopped (see Recipe Note #1)
  • 16 oz pho rice noodles

FOR THE NUOC CHAM (optional)

  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 4 tbsp fresh lime juice (you can also substitute or cut the lime juice with unseasoned rice vinegar)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tbsp chili-garlic sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves finely minced
  • 1 tbsp sugar

GARNISHES

  • 1 cup cilantro chopped
  • 1 cup Thai basil leaves (keep whole, then tear directly into the soup)
  • 1 cup scallions sliced
  • 2 limes cut into wedges
  • 1 jalapeno thinly sliced (seed the chiles if you're heat-averse)
  • hoisin sauce

Instructions

FOR THE SLOW-COOKER DUCK STOCK

  1. Place duck carcass into slow-cooker with remaining duck stock ingredients. Add enough water to mostly cover the carcass (don't overfill your slow-cooker, though!). Set slow-cooker on low for a minimum of 12 hours and up to 36.

  2. Fish out chicken bones and any large solids with a skimmer; place into a colander set inside a bowl. Rinse the solids with approximately 3 cups of cold water. Remove colander and discard solids. Add the liquid in the bowl to the slow-cooker. 

  3. Working in batches, strain the stock through a fine-mesh strainer into a degreaser. If you plan to refrigerate the stock before making the soup, pour the degreased stock into a storage container, cool, and refrigerate up to 3 days. If you are proceeding directly to making the soup, pour the degreased stock into a stockpot.

FINISHING THE DUCK PHO SOUP

  1. Heat the degreased duck stock in a stockpot with the sliced onions, shiitake mushrooms, and cilantro stems. Simmer for 30 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, prepare the garnishes and bring the water for the pho noodles to a boil. Cook the noodles according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water.

  3. Mix the ingredients for the nuoc cham in a jar (see Recipe Note #2). Shake to combine.

  4. 5–8 minutes before serving, add the roasted duck meat to the simmering broth to heat through. Serve soup with noodles and garnishes to taste.

Recipe Notes

  1. This recipe was written to use up leftovers from my Herbed Roast Duck. If you're starting out by roasting a duck especially for this soup, this recipe by Mark Bittman is even easier. If you don't have any leftover duck meat, cooked chicken will also work.
  2. If fish sauce gives you the heebie jeebies, skip it and add a splash of tamari for more umami and salt. Squeeze a couple of lime wedges over the soup.
  3. If you can't find Thai basil, regular sweet basil works.
  4. To degrease the broth, you can (a) run it through a fat separator or (b) cool the broth and then refrigerate overnight. The next day, you can scrape or skim the fat from the top of the broth. 
  5. Freeze any leftover duck stock in airtight freezer containers for up to 3 months. (Be sure to leave about an inch of space between the surface of the broth and the lid.)