If you’re looking for a fun post-holiday meal loaded with fresh vegetables, how about ramen? Even better, how about ramen made with rich local ramen stock, fresh noodles, pasture raised pork, and fresh, vibrant winter vegetables. This meal is so easy to make, and perfect for guests – everyone composes their own bowl. The first time we made this was after Thanksgiving, and it was the perfect nourishing bowl of soup. I’d recommend this for New Year’s Eve, or any holiday gathering this month!
Start by picking up this awesome ramen stock form The Piggery in Ithaca, it’s one of my best fall finds! They also have fresh ramen noodles (made in NY!) that are so chewy and delicious. With these two components you’re already more than halfway to dinner. Make your ramen toppings as easy or complicated as you like – we went with quick-pickled watermelon radish, sautéed leeks, pork shoulder, and kale.
There’s something else I recently discovered, you can make quick pickles even quicker on the stove top! These beautiful watermelon radishes are quick boiled in their brine on the stove. We chose a quick marinated and pan-fried pork shoulder, but other great options include The Piggery’s lemongrass ginger sausage (another personal favorite!), shredded leftover poultry, or even just simple ground pork. Check out our instructions below to get started on your own ramen party or see what you come up with!
Ramen Party (to serve 4)
2 Jars Piggery Ramen Stock
10 oz Boneless Pork Shoulder
4 Leaves Kale
1 large Watermelon Radish
2 Tablespoons Tamari
1 cup water
1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon Rice Vinegar (divided)
3 Tablespoons sugar, divided
2 Tablespoons salted butter
8 oz fresh or dried ramen noodles
Suggested Condiments for Serving – sriracha or chili sauce, menma – fermented bamboo (check your local Asian Market!), Sesame seeds or shichimi (also available at Asian Market!), shoyu or tamari soy sauce
Thinly slice the pork shoulder. For best results place the meat into the freezer for about 30 minutes so it will firm up, but not freeze. This will make it easy to slice into thin slices.
Marinate the pork shoulder. Place the pork into a bowl. In a small bowl or measuring cup mix together the tamari, one tablespoon of rice vinegar, and one tablespoon of sugar. Let marinate for 20 minutes.
Pickle the radishes. Place the radishes, 1 cup water, 1/2 cup of rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of salt in a pot (use the same one you’ll boil the noodles in later.) Bring to a boil and boil for about 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Turn off the heat and transfer to a bowl.
Boil the eggs. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, use tongs or slotted spoon to gently lower in the eggs. Give the water a stir, then boil to desired doneness. Soft boiled – 6 minutes. Softish/Hardish – 8 minutes. Hard – 11 minutes. This method produces the easiest to peel eggs and if you want to know more about the science behind it just click here!
Cook the leeks. Cut the green tops and bottoms off of the leeks. Slice the leeks in half lengthwise, and then hold the leeks under running water to rinse in between the layers (see a photo here), cut into thin slices. In the pot you’ll make the soup in, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter of medium low heat. Add the leeks and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Leeks should be soft and fragrant. Transfer to a small bowl.
Cook the pork. Without rinsing the pan, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter over high heat. Cook the pork over high heat, stirring, for about 5 minutes until the pork is cooked through. Transfer to a bowl.
Heat the broth and cook the kale. Add the pork broth to the pot (no need to rinse), bring to a simmer, then add the kale and cover. Simmer covered for about 5 minutes until the kale is cooked to your desired level of doneness.
Boil the noodles. Wash the pan you pickled the radishes in, fill with water and bring to a boil. Cook the noodles 3-4 minutes until tender and chewy. Drain and rinse with cool water. (OR cook according to package directions).
Assemble ramen bowls. Divide the noodles amongst 4 bowls and ladle the stock and kale over the top. Divided the pork amongst the bowls, then let each eater add pickles, leeks, and condiments to their bowls as desired. Serve warm with chopsticks and big spoons!