- One 4-to-5 lb chicken, quartered, backbone reserved
- 2 yellow onions, peeled and halved
- One 2-in piece of fresh ginger, peeled and smashed
- Kosher Salt
- 2 tsp light brown sugar
- 5 qt water
- 1/2 cup fish sauce, plus more for serving
- 1 lb dried brown rice noodles, such as Annie Chun's Pad Thai Brown Rice Noodles
- 1 bunch green onions, green parts only, thinly sliced
- 2 cups mung bean sprouts
- 2 jalapeños, thinly sliced (optional if nightshade-sensitive)
- Torn basil, cilantro, and mint leaves for serving
- Lime wedges for serving
- Sriracha sauce for serving (optional)
- Place the chicken pieces and backbone, onions, ginger, 2 tsp salt, brown sugar, and water in a stockpot with at least an 8-qt capacity.
- Slowly bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn the heat to medium-low and simmer gently, uncovered, for 1 hour, skimming off any impurities that come to the surface. (Add water as necessary to keep the chicken covered.)
- Using tongs, remove the chicken pieces from the pot and transfer to a cutting board. When the chicken is cool to the touch, remove all the meat from the skin and bones and transfer to a medium bowl.
- Return the skin and bones to the stockpot. Shred the meat, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Return the stock to a simmer and continue to cook 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
- Using a fine-mesh sieve, strain the stock into another stockpot and cook over high heat until reduced to 12 cups, about 20 minutes. Stir in the fish sauce (At this point, you can cool the stock to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- Prepare the rice noodles according to the package instructions.
- While the noodles cook, add half of the shredded chicken to the stock and simmer until the chicken is warmed through. (Reserve the remaining shredded chicken for another use).
- Divide the cooked rice noodle among six large soup bowls and sprinkle evenly with green onions, bean sprouts, and jalapeños (if using).
- Ladle the stock and chicken over the noodles and finish with the torn herbs. Serve with lime wedges, additional fish sauce, and Sriracha sauce, if desired.