One-Pot Wonders

Mushroom and Vegetable Pho

February 23, 2015
1 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

There’s so much I miss about my old Brooklyn neighborhood, but the fresh air, forests, and snow-filled landscape of my new home nestled in the Catskill mountains have had a very calming and healing effect on my family. Still, my taste buds long for some of my favorites foods, one of them being the mushroom pho served at Nightingale 9 in Carroll Gardens. On busy afternoons, I’d find myself sitting at the counter, hurriedly slurping down a bowl of it before running across the street to pick up the kids from school.
The only way to satisfy the craving now is to make it myself, working solely from memory of my many lunches there. I originally put off making this for a while because I knew the individual components would be an exercise in patience: The broth needs time for the flavors to simmer and the crispy mushrooms add an important taste and texture to the soup -- and I knew the only way to recreate them would be a slow roast in the oven. The great thing, though, is that both the stock and the mushrooms can be prepared up to one week in advance, and stored in the fridge (the stock will keep up to two months in the freezer). Once that's done, you can pull all the ingredients together, and enjoy a hearty bowl of pho in less than 30 minutes.
Jennifer Perillo

Test Kitchen Notes

As soon as I saw this recipe, I knew that I wanted to try it. The mushroom broth is deep, rich, and flavorful. The crispy roasted mushrooms were a revelation, and I wish I had made more. Putting the pho together I wondered, where is the ginger, coriander, cinnamon, and star anise -- spices I love in pho. I needn't have worried. The final dish came together beautifully, and with the fresh herbs and chile (I used chile flakes at the table), it was complex and really flavorful. I added some frozen edamame for a little protein. I'll definitely make this again. —drbabs

What You'll Need
  • For the mushroom and vegetable pho:
  • 2 carrots
  • 6 cups (1 1/2 liters) rich mushroom stock (see recipe below)
  • 1 generous handful of baby spinach
  • 1 splash rice wine vinegar
  • 3 1/2 ounces (98 grams) Chinese noodles, prepared according to package directions
  • 1/4 small head of savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
  • Handful of fresh cilantro
  • Handful of fresh mint leaves
  • 1 Fresh red chili pepper, chopped fine (optional)
  • Slow Roasted Crispy Mushrooms (see recipe below)
  • For the rich mushroom stock and slow-roasted crispy mushrooms:
  • 1 1/2 pounds Crimini mushrooms, sliced thin and divided (use both the stems and caps)
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 6 carrots, cut into coins
  • 1 medium yellow onion, cut into quarters
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 8 cups (2 liters) water
  • 4 dried bay leaves
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Handful of flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
  • 2 to 3 splashes soy sauce
  1. For the mushroom and vegetable pho:
  2. Peel the carrots into ribbons. (Either store the cores in a container and use them to make the vegetable stock, or each them as-is.)
  3. Combine the stock, carrots, spinach, and rice wine vinegar in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until the carrots are tender.
  4. Divide the cabbage and noodles amongst four deep soup bowls. Ladle the soup into the bowls. Top with the herbs, chili pepper, and Crispy Mushrooms. Serve hot.
  1. For the rich mushroom stock and slow-roasted crispy mushrooms:
  2. To prepare the slow-roasted mushrooms: preheat the oven to 300º F. Line a rimmed baking pan with parchment paper; set aside.
  3. Add 8 ounces (224 grams) of mushrooms to a medium bowl. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil, just enough to coat the mushrooms. Season with salt, and toss well to mix. Spread them in a single layer onto the prepared sheet pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, give the mushrooms a stir, and bake for 45 to 60 minutes more, until crisp. Let the mushrooms cool completely before using, or store the cooled mushrooms in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
  4. To prepare the stock: place a 4-quart pot over medium-high heat. Swirl in just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining mushrooms, season with salt, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until deep, golden brown, 7 to 8 minutes.
  5. Add the onions, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits of mushroom. Cook until the onions begin to slightly soften, about 2 minutes. Give the mushrooms and onions a taste, and add more salt if necessary.
  6. Add the carrots and garlic, giving everything in the pot a good stir. Cook for 2 more minutes.
  7. Use a wooden spoon again to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Pour in the water, and add the herbs, and soy sauce. Increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the liquid has reduced by 1/3, roughly 35 to 40 minutes.
  8. Place a sieve, or fine meshed strainer, over a deep pot. Pour the stock through the sieve, to strain out the vegetables and herbs. The stock is now ready to use, or you can portion it into smaller containers for use later on. Store it in the fridge, covered, for up to one week, or the freezer for up to two months.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jennifer Perillo
    Jennifer Perillo
  • anotherfoodieblogger
  • drbabs
  • PS007
Jennifer Perillo is the Consulting Food Editor at Working Mother magazine, and a regular a contributor to Relish Magazine and She shares stories about food, family and life at her blog In Jennie's Kitchen and in her debut cookbook, Homemade with Love: Simple Scratch Cooking from In Jennie's Kitchen (Running Press 2013).

6 Reviews

Jennifer P. April 30, 2015
@PS007 The stock is not watered down, and actually comes together with little effort (the slow roasted mushrooms take a bit because you have slowly draw out the moisture, but that is unrelated to making the stock). You can also double it if you like for a larger batch. I went with a smaller batch because my daughter's don't like mushrooms. This made enough for dinner one night, and leftovers for another meal. Hope that helps!
PS007 March 23, 2015
So is the stock used as a base, then watered down for each bowl? I'm thinking not, but if that's the case, seems like a lot of work to end up with roughly 5 cups of broth which would be about 2 good size bowls of pho.
Jennifer P. March 3, 2015
Thanks @anotherfoodieblogger. My girls don't like mushrooms either, so I just leave the crispy ones off. They don't even know the broth is mushroom based. ;)
anotherfoodieblogger February 28, 2015
Congrats on the CP! This sounds so delicious. I would really like to make this some night when my daughter is not home. (She hates mushrooms, her loss!)
Jennifer P. February 24, 2015
Me, too @drbabs! Time to make a pot of the rich mushroom stock.
drbabs February 24, 2015
I want this for dinner tonight.