Every week, Yahoo Food spotlights a cookbook that stands out from the rest. This week’s cookbook is Lucky Peach Presents: 101 Easy Asian Recipes by Peter Meehan and the editors of Lucky Peach (Clarkson Potter), the bestselling and award-winning quarterly food journal. Read more about Yahoo Food’s Cookbook of the Week here.
Photograph: Gabriele Stabile
Makes 4 servings
Do I really have to cook this for TWO HOURS?? We don’t want to make you do anything you’re not comfortable with. But we found that 2 hours is the sweet spot for flavor extraction and reduction. Also, you don’t really do anything during that time except for maybe cook an egg or two — plenty of time to watch an old Eddie Murphy movie or stare endlessly into the antisocial abyss that is your smartphone!
BUT BUT BUT why do I have to skim it? Skimming the broth during the first 10 minutes will force you to pay attention to the hardness of the simmer, observe the water level in the pot, and get to know the broth.
Also, we found that with rotisserie chicken (unlike plain old raw chicken), there is some rendered grease that can emulsify in a muddy way. Our early stabs at this broth went unskimmed; they came out murky and tasted sort of flat. This approach yields a cleaner-tasting and clearer soup—and a better bowl of ramen.
1 rotisserie chicken, whole or leftover
1 piece (1-inch) fresh ginger, thinly sliced
1 small carrot (optional)
1 dried shiitake mushroom
3 slices bacon (about 2 ounces)
12 cups water
4 portions ramen noodles (preferably fresh)
8 teaspoons soy sauce
2 cooked eggs (optional but very nice), halved
If you’re starting with a leftover rotisserie chicken carcass, scavenge it for good meaty bits, and set them aside. If you have purchased a cooked chicken expressly for this recipe, then carefully cut away the breast meat, reserve the drumsticks, and use your fingers to shred off the leg meat—but just the big, fit-for-a-king pieces that come away easily. You can leave plenty of chicken on the carcass; that clingy meat will make for a flavorful soup. Pull or slice the meat into bite-size pieces and reserve in the fridge while you make the broth.
Break the chicken carcass into a few pieces and put them in a stockpot. Trim the roots and dark green parts of the scallions and add them to the pot; thinly slice the white and tender green parts and reserve them to garnish the soup. Add the ginger, carrot (if using), shiitake, and bacon. Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat from a rolling boil to a rollicking simmer, and skim any froth that collects on the surface during the first 10 minutes of simmering.
Cook until the liquid is reduced by one-third (to 8 cups), about 2 hours. Strain the broth. (That shiitake is probably pretty delicious and tender at this point so you can save and slice it and use it as a garnish on the finished dish, but scrap the rest.) The broth can be used immediately or refrigerated for up to 2 days.
To serve: Bring the broth to a strong simmer and cook the ramen noodles according to package directions. Drain the noodles very well, and portion them out among 4 deep soup bowls. Top with broth. Season each bowl with 2 teaspoons soy sauce, a portion of the reserved chicken meat, scallions, half an egg, and whatever else you’ve got. (See ideas below!) Eat immediately.
an egg, and (in the best case) some meat plundered from the carcass to make a solid serving of soup.
But maybe you already made this same dish a thousand times and you’re looking to spice things up, or maybe you’ve got a fridge thick with odds and ends. Here are some other things we’d happily throw in the bowl:
Bean sprouts: raw, a handful for each bowl
Sesame seeds: 1 tablespoon per bowl
Vegetables: The sky is more or less the limit on veggie additions. Your taste will dictate what you wanna plop in your soup. If you’re adding something raw at the end as a topping — let’s say napa cabbage because it’s easy to have extra — make sure to cut it thin enough that the heat of the soup can cook it, and in a shape that will make it nice to eat along with the noodles (i.e., a chiffonade). Do not add leftover vegetables cold from the fridge — that’s like adding an ice cube to a hot cup of coffee. Heat ‘em up first!
Other meats: Try shredded pork shoulder or any nubbins of tasty roasted or grilled meat.
Menma: Menma are cured bamboo shoots often served in ramen. Some Japanese markets carry these, and if you find a shelf-stable version intended to be eaten without any additional preparation, they’re worth keeping in the pantry.
Nori: 1 torn-up sheet per bowl
Togarashi: classic Japanese hot pepper powder to spike a bowl