Memorial Day! Gotta feed a crowd? It's time for ramen, baby!

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DEEP AND RICH ASIAN FLAVORS. Discover the secret to this top comfort food. 

Gotta feed a crowd this holiday weekend? And are they a discerning, umami-hunting pack? 

Here's your thang, kittens. It's ramen time, baby! 

I never make it quite the same way twice, and that makes it twice as fun to make. If you've never made it, believe me, this is not your grocery store's instant ramen. At my home, where I feed my kids plenty of hearty food, homemade ramen is one of our favorite go-to meals. It means simplicity and comfort, and not a little slurping. The broth alone will get you on the next plane to Tokyo (or Osaka or Kyoto)!

Ramen Ramen Baby

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Ingredients for the broth and pork

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  • One boneless pork butt (3-5 pounds) with fat attached
  • 2 cups Mirin or very dry sake
  • 2 cups low sodium soy sauce
  • 4 cups enriched chicken stock
  • 1 large red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/2 pound bacon diced
  • 6 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup dried daikon radish
  • 4 anchovies filets
  • 4 sheets nori or dried seaweed sheets
  • 5 cloves garlic, ends cut, smashed but with paper left on

Procedure

It's a lot of steps, but every single one is easy. Start by preheating your oven to 250F.

In your largest EuroCAST Dutch oven:

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  1. Fry the bacon until the fat begins to render, remove the bacon and set aside.
  2. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the rendered bacon fat and then add the pork butt, skin side down to sear the fat. Remove the pork butt, setting it aside with the reserved bacon.
  3. Add the onions and garlic and gently brown in the fat
  4. Add the anchovies filets
  5. Add back the pork butt and the bacon
  6. Add the dried shiitakes 
  7. Add the dried daikon
  8. Add 4 sheets nori, ripped into strips
  9. Add all the liquid, 8 1/4 cups total
  10. Bring to a boil then take off the heat
  11. Place the Dutch oven in the oven lightly covered with tinfoil
  12. Braise in the oven for 4-6 hours, until the pork is fork tender
  13. Remove from oven and separate the pork from the broth. 
  14. When the broth is cool enough to handle, strain it through a fine wire sieve, pushing the juice from the solids with the back of a wooden spoon, reserving the liquid. You want a clear broth. The solids you can compost or toss.
  15. Cool this completely and store in the refrigerator until ready to use, or keep hot while you put the other items together.
  16. Slice the pork with a very sharp knife into slices, or break off chunks with a fork (it will be so tender, chunking it with a fork is a breeze). 

Making it gorgeous

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Ramen accessorizes with a delicious range of add-ons.

As for the noodles, I've used soba (buckwheat noodles) and love them, but you can if want choose instant Ramen noodles. I know, crazy. Cook per the packages instructions.

Nori sheets -- usually a sheet per person is enough. It's got salty, umami flavors -- think of it as a seasoning with a bit of dry crunch. Crumble up a bit on top so it dissolves a bit ... or just drop a strip and eat it with your broth right away, to capture the crunch. Or just eat some by itself between bites. 

Jammy eggs. You know I love those, any old time, any old place. Check out my recipe (from last March) here

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Steamed broccoli and cauliflower tossed in your EuroCAST wok (we sell two) with olive oil and dressed with sesame oil, kosher salt, and black sesame seeds. You'll be taste-testing these as you finish them in the wok, but please save some for the ramen. 

Tofu. The miracle of tofu is that it carries all the flavors you add to it. Take some squares of silky, firm tofu, fry them in 4 T. olive oil on two sides until crisped and warmed through in your EuroCAST sauté pan, add some sesame seeds and diced green onion. Dress with 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, Aleppo flakes and black or blond sesame seeds. Toss. Put on the ramen. 

Chili paste. Or check out our partner blak•label's Chili Garlic Crunch. Inspired by Asian and smoky Tex-Mex flavors, it's a recipe conceived in Sonoma County, land of all that is tasty. See the nifty video at the bottom of this post!

Finely minced green onion. Not much more to say except clean them well and dry them a bit to ease the slicing. 

Fresh garlic on the table with a press. Yes, press your own fresh garlic into your ramen. 

blak•label's Chili Garlic Crunch is delicious spooned into your ramen. Check it out at the  link . 

blak•label's Chili Garlic Crunch is delicious spooned into your ramen. Check it out at the link

Find out more about CHILI GARLIC Crunch

Introducing our partner, blak•label. Delicious products with the best ingredients, sourced internationally, and formulations from culinary specialists in Sonoma County. Use them everyday!

Paul WardComment