Second week after Christmas break – I need a vacation! Seriously, the kids are awesome and life is good but I am dog ass tired. As a mom I’m re-assessing my “work performance”, and really want to make some changes. As a wife – yeah I could do a better job. As a boss/business owner – man do I have a lot to do! Which brings me back to – I’m tired!
Don’t you hate those people who just go on and on and on about how damn tired they are?! Especially moms, I mean – shit dude we are all fucking tired – we have babies and toddlers who never sleep! Yet here I am joining the chorus, ugh woah to me…
One of the new life strategies I’m focusing on is:
find the joy
Two weeks in and I’m feeling the strain and so I asked myself – where is the joy? And like a voice from the heavens I heard “Ramen Noodle Broth!”
My two adorable kids were tired too and it was -4 air temperature outside on a day we didn’t have to go outside. So we stayed inside and were silly and messed up the house and made Momofuku Ramen Broth.
The day was a little like that scene from the movie Swingers when they decide to go to Vegas… Early AM it was all “yeah! Stay home and relax with mommy” I showed the kids my recipe and they were ready to cook.
The recipe is straight from the Momofuku Cookbook. As it takes all day to make broth I decided to make a double batch so our efforts would yield great results. I had to substitute some items, just couldn’t get pork neck bones. Here is what we made –
12 quarts of water
6 sheets Kombu
4 cups dried Shitake Mushrooms
1 whole chicken
3.6 lbs chicken legs
8 lbs pork spareribs
4.5 lbs bacon ( from our smokehouse)
2 medium onions
2 medium bunches scallions
2 cups carrots
2 cups celery
The broth starts with water heated to simmer and then you toss rinsed Kombu into water. Allow it to boil for 30 min. I was multi-tasking during this process and almost missed the trip to beach this process affords the cook. It literally smells like you are at the ocean when the Kombu is ready to be taken out.
So I stood in my cluttered kitchen and breathed in the sea air for a second. Then you add the Shitakes. Amazingly the kitchen goes from ocean to French bistro in a matter of 30 minutes. The broth was green and is now a rich chocolate brown and you feel warmed by the mushroom smell. The Shitakes should cook until the entire broth tastes like them. I think I messed mine up and didn’t leave it in long enough. So rather than tell you a time I will say this, simmer them until you can taste them in the broth.
After you remove the mushrooms add your chicken. The chicken can be place whole or in pieces in your pot. It is meant to simmer until the fat turns the broth into a hearty chicken soup stock. (At least 1 hr or until meat falls off bones)
Meanwhile, turn you oven on to 400 and place the pork spareribs on baking sheets for roasting. The original recipe calls for pork bones and specifically states neck bones are ideal. We run a USDA processing plant and own a farm but we sold all our pork bones. Good news for us but bad news for my broth. I did a little web research and learned spareribs are ok. We have a lot of extra spareribs.
The spareribs roasting for an hour and I turned them once after 30 minutes. Add the roasted pork bones to the broth once chicken is done. Once the pork bones are added, add all the bacon. We have a smokehouse and we were able to use our bacon. (Life is good)
At this point you are simply adding water as you wish and simmer the broth for 6-7hrs. I didn’t add any water after the first hour. I didn’t add any salt, I thought the pork would add enough.
Once you are done with the pork bones remove them and save the meat for your ramen. Next add all vegetables to broth and simmer for 1 HR. Remove vegetables and get ready for best ramen ever… (Well, that was the hope)
The broth smelled amazing but it was really bland. (Sigh). So we added salt, we added more salt, we reduced it into a concentrated broth. I let the broth cool and skimmed the fat. I canned 5 pints and 1 quart of broth when it was all said and done. I am storing mine in the refrigerator for 2 – 3 weeks and 1 month in freezer.
Potential Ramen Fixins’:
Beef, Chicken, Pork , Shrimp, Tofu, egg (fried of 6 min egg)
Broccoli, snow peas, bean sprouts, napa cabbage, mushrooms
cilantro, jalapenos, lime
always have Sriracha on hand!
Pictured below is our weeknight Ramen. We went with a meatless version of broccoli, sprouts, cabbage, mushrooms and egg. We had used up the legit ramen noodles, so in a pinch, we bought some of the cheapo 25 cent packs at the grocery store. You know – the kind you overdosed on in college. We used the noodles and tossed the sodium packed season packet since our Momofuku broth is bursting with flavor.
Words by Beth Willhite