Pho, Pho, Pho: Merry Christmas

Christmas, Dinner, Featured Article, Holidays, Recipes
on November 15, 2011
Mark Boughton/styling: Teresa Blackburn

Last year my family did something we've never done before—we ate out on Christmas day. I’ve always heard of folks eating Chinese and going to the movies on Christmas, but I’ve never been one of those people. I've spent most every holiday surrounded by family, pork loin and platters of Christmas cookies.

This year, however, the kids and I found ourselves alone; which meant an opportunity to start a new tradition. Because it was open and we could, we stopped at our favorite Vietnamese restaurant, Miss Saigon, after mass. I always thought it would be weird and slightly depressing to eat out on Christmas. But after Christmas Eve with turkey and all the trimmings, friends, and way too much time in the kitchen, a bowl of warm pho served by someone else sounded too good to pass up.

The twinkling lights, kitschy Santa decorations and flat screen TV blaring football in a room full of Vietnamese families was so fun. It felt slightly naughty, but totally nice. It was our secret getaway for the day, made all the better with chopsticks and snow falling outside. With fried rice in a doggy bag for later, what could be better? Here is a recipe for pho you can make at home, an American version of the Vietnamese dish plus fried rice that's perfect for leftover turkey or ham.

—Jill Melton, Relish Editor