I have a secret guilty pleasure involving our trips to Sam’s Club. I love browsing the book section of the store (ok, which one of us wouldn’t). I always look at the table with the kid books and we usually come home with a new story book for the littles. I also always check out the cooking magazine display rack. I had never seen the issues of Cook’s Illustrated before shopping Sam’s, and I’m now a huge fan. When I saw the All-time Best Soups and Stews edition earlier this year, I knew that I had to have it.
When the weather turned cold earlier this month, I gave the magazine to Scott to browse through and choose a few recipes. He chose Ramen, Split Pea Soup, and Irish Stew (more on this below). At first glance I was really intimidated by the Ramen, but I knew the girls would love the noodles. All in all, even though the recipe looks rather daunting it was fairly easy and will be easier the next time I make it. Below is the recipe exactly as it stands in Cook’s Illustrated–though I did make some adjustments that I included in “my notes.”
Homemade Ramen Soup
1½ pounds boneless country-style pork ribs, trimmed (divided)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled, sliced into ¼-inch-thick rounds, and smashed
8 cups chicken broth
4 (3oz) packages ramen noodles, seasoning packets discarded
3 tablespoons red miso
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 scallions, sliced thin on the bias
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
1. For the Broth: Slice 8 ounces pork ribs crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices; cover and refrigerate until needed. Cut remaining 1 pound pork ribs into 1-inch chunks, then pulse in the food processor until coarsely ground.
2. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add ground pork and cook, breaking up meat with wooden spoon, until well browned, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, then stir in onion, garlic, and ginger and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in broth, cover partially, and bring to simmer. Cook until broth is flavorful, about 40 minutes. Strain broth through fine-mesh strainer, discarding solids. (broth can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours).
3. For the Soup: Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add noodles and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until just tender, about 2 minutes. Drain noodles and portion into bowls.
4. Return strained broth to clean saucepan and bring to simmer over medium-high heat. Whisk 1/2 cup of hot broth into miso until dissolved and smooth, then whisk miro mixture into saucepan. Stir in soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, and sliced pork. Cover, remove saucepan from heat, and let sit until pork is cooked through, about 3 minutes (do not overcook). Season with salt to taste. Ladle soup over noodles, sprinkle with scallions and sesame seeds, and serve.
My Notes: Put the pork in the freezer for about 15 minutes to make it easier to chop/slice. I sliced my pork into quarter-inch strips because that’s as thin as I could get. It’s not shown in the picture above because this was a staged photo and we had already eaten all the pork. It was tender and delicious! I omitted the miso and the scallions (didn’t have the first on hand and knew I would be the only one to eat the scallions). I also used regular sesame seeds instead of toasted ones–and didn’t measure them out. I also didn’t measure the sesame oil but only added several drops. The girls mainly ate broth soaked noodles, Scott ate his bowl with soy sauce, and I ate mine with sriracha. We ended up with a little over a quart of broth leftover, so I froze the remainder. Since the noodles and pork take very little time to cook, this will provide a quick meal in the future!
About the Cookbook: First. Browsing through Cook’s Illustrated can be fairly intimidating. The above is the page I used for the Ramen Soup and as you can see, there’s a heck of a lot of text and information. Every single recipe is like this, because these recipes are tested and tested and tested to come up with the best results. Once past the intimidation factor, there is much to love about Cook’s Illustrated–especially the fact that the WHY and HOW are so thoroughly covered for each recipe. I learn so much just from reading these issues without even having cooked anything.
I cooked three recipes from this All-Time Best Soups and Stews edition of Cook’s Illustrated: Chicken and Dumplings, Ham and Split Pea Soup, and the Ramen. I skipped the Irish Stew that Scott requested because I didn’t feel like searching for lamb shoulder chops. Included in the edition are over 50! soup recipes. The recipes range from vegetable to pork, chicken, beef, lamb, fish–basically everything, plus all of the basic favorites. The recipes are mostly traditional and there are inclusions from all over the world.
The Chicken and Dumplings recipe and Ramen recipes were clear winners. The Ham and Split Pea Soup was ok (it needed a bit of a kick), but I loved the tip to drizzle balsamic vinegar over the bowl before serving. This was a delicious addition! Too bad Chicken and Dumplings and Split Pea look terrible when photographed–so you’re spared.
Have you ever browsed through a Cook’s Illustrated? Are you a fan of America’s Test Kitchen?
Linking up with:
I cooked this Ramen and a few others from Cook’s Illustrated as part of Cook it Up: A Cookbook Challenge. The idea of the challenge is to dust off your cookbooks and put them to use. Link up the first Saturday monthly on Love, Laughter, Insanity.
Every weekend, Beth Fish Reads hosts Weekend Cooking. “Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs.” Hope you’ll join the fun!