We love ramen. Sure, who doesn’t? But homemade ramen is not something that is part of our usual repertoire. In fact, it would likely not have come about were it not for a certain friend of mine. This particular food adventure was set in motion by a long overdue pig roast.
Over the past several years, my friend Jackie (CDC at MLT) and I have wanted to play Francis Mallmann for a day. Essentially: cook a pig all primal-style over an open fire, then hang some whole chickens and pineapples over it and cook those too (more about this later, I promise!).
When all was said and done, we were left with the task of dividing the leftovers. Megan and I got dibs on the strap, and with a detour to our local Asian grocery store, we were ready to make some ramen broth. Really, the broth is the most time consuming (not difficult!) part of the whole thing. After that it was smooth-sailing. We managed to turn one batch of stock into two impressive-looking meals for four. As if the pig roast itself wasn’t reward enough, now we have extra motivation to get another cookout going!
(Recipe adapted from Lucky Peach, Momofuku Noodle Bar and Modernist Cuisine)
Broth (approx. 8 servings)
- 7 litres of water
- Approx. 2 trays of ice cubes
- 2 3×6″ kombu
- 2 cups of dried shitake mushroom
- 8 – 10 chicken drumsticks
- 1 Francis Mallmann-style pork strap from a 25lb pig (or 5lb roasted pork neck bones + 1lb smoked pork)
- 1 bunch of scallions
- 1 white onion
- 2 carrots
- In a stock pot, heat the water and the kombu at a gentle simmer for 30 minutes.
- Remove kombu from the pot and add the shitake mushrooms. Gently simmer for another 30 minutes.
- Remove the shitake mushrooms. (These can be reserved and seasoned with the tare or pickled to make a nice addition to the soup or side dish.)
- Add the chicken drumsticks and bring to a boil.
- Remove from heat and add ice cubes.
- Skim the broth with a ladle and discard any froth, foam or fat.
- Return the broth to heat and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.
- Remove the chicken (bones and meat).
- Add pork strap/bones to the broth and simmer for 6 hours.
- Add the scallions, onion, and carrots and simmer for another 45 minutes.
- Strain the broth. At this point, you can continue preparing the ramen, and/or set some of the broth aside for later.
Tare (this can be prepared ahead of time)
- 2 chicken backs
- 1 cup shoyu
- 1 cup sake
- 2/3 cup mirin
- 2 tbsp sugar
- Roast the chicken backs at 400F for 45 minutes.
- Remove the chicken backs from the pan and deglaze the pan with sake.
- Scrape the pan to release all the brown bits from the bottom.
- Add chicken backs, brown bits, sake and remaining ingredients to a small sauce pan.
- Bring ingredients to a boil and reduce heat to a low simmer for 1 hour.
- Strain tare and refrigerate.
- Pull meat off the chicken backs and reserve it for the ramen topping, if desired.
- Ramen broth
- Ramen noodles
- Toppings: fish cakes, shoyu egg, scallions, roasted sliced pork belly, seaweed, pea shoots, tare chicken, pickled shitake mushrooms, and anything else you feel like!
- (re-)heat the ramen broth.
- Season with tare.
- Cook noodles (we used store-bought fresh ones).
- Portion noodles in bowls. Cover with broth and add toppings as desired.