Sunday, May 9, 2021

Chicken Miso Ramen


One of the things I've missed during the pandemic is going out for ramen. Near where I work in downtown D.C., there are several very good ramen restaurants, and near the Atlantic Plumbing movie where we used to go to see movies, was another one--all three (Daikaya, Bantam King and Haikan) owned by the same group. Of the three, Bantam King, which specializes in chicken-based ramen, is my favorite. I've had many meals there with friends and colleagues and look forward to (hopefully soon) being able to eat there again.

Until then, I've been making ramen at home. This is my ode to Bantam King's chicken ramen. The recipe here is for a miso rendition (spicy or not), but if you substituted soy sauce for the miso, you could instead have a very decent shoyu version. 

Fresh ramen noodles are what makes this dish truly special. The Nona Lim brand available at Whole Foods are quite good. Each box is two servings, so you'll want two boxes for this recipe, since it makes 4 servings total. If you can't find fresh noodles though, substitute dried ones--they will be good too.

Chicken Miso Ramen
Inspired by chicken ramen at Bantam King

Chicken miso broth:

1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 1/2 lb. chicken wings (with bones and skin on)
2 shallots, peeled and diced
6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 inches ginger root, peeled and coarsely minced
8 cups chicken stock and/or broth
2-4 tbsp. red miso (may also use other types of miso)
Gochujang chili paste (optional, if you like spicy ramen)

Ramen bowl:

1 tbsp. vegetable oil
8 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, cut into strips
1 cup frozen fire-roasted corn (may use standard frozen corn)

Fresh ramen noodles (follow package directions to use one serving per person, may substitute dried ramen if fresh not available, but strongly recommend taking the time to look for fresh ramen)
Nori sheet, cut into about 4 x 8 inches
1 bunch of scallions, white and green parts chopped


Make the broth:

1. Heat 1 tbsp. vegetable oil in a dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. Add chicken wings and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

2. Stir in the shallots, garlic and ginger, and continue cooking a few more minutes, stirring occasionally, until the garlic and shallots are fragrant.

3. Add the chicken stock/broth, stir the pot to make sure nothing is stuck to the bottom, increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover pot, reduce heat to a simmer, and simmer for about 3 hours. Remove the chicken wings and transfer to a plate to cool. Strain the broth by removing large pieces with a spider strainer (this will leave some little bits behind--if you prefer a finer strain, pour the broth through a fine-mesh sieve). Stir in the miso (I recommend starting with 2 tablespoons, then tasting to see if its salty enough for you, adding more as desired). If you like spicy broth, stir in the gochujang chili paste (note: you can always stir it in after apportioning the broth for each bowl, if some people like spicy and others don't--personally, I love it).

Make the ramen and assemble:

1. Once the chicken has cooled, pull off the skin (and discard) and remove the best meat from the wings, being sure not to include any gristle. Set aside the meat until ready to serve and discard the bones and gristle.

2. Heat 1 tbsp. vegetable oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally until lightly browned. Remove from the pan and add the frozen corn, cooking, stirring occasionally, until the corn is heated through. Set aside.

3. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook the ramen according to package directions. Err on the side of undercooking just a bit so the noodles will be a little chewy.

4. Assemble the bowls: Add a serving of ramen to a large bowl. Nestle a sheet of nori next to it. Pour in about 1 1/2 cups (or more/less as desired) of broth--enough so that the noodles are covered. Top with chicken, mushrooms, corn and scallions.

Monday, February 1, 2021

Updated Quick Black Bean Soup

This is an updated version of the recipe I posted 6 years ago. I’ve made enough changes to it that I wanted to share it again, as I like this version better. This is such a wonderful weeknight soup—it really does come together quickly. And it’s very satisfying.

The most noticeable change is that I now puree some of the soup. This makes it thicker, and I really like the texture. Since I don’t want the meat pureed, I now heat the kielbasa separately, tossing it in toward the end after some of the soup has been pureed. I’ve also added red bell pepper, which makes it a little sweeter. Most recently, I diced the kielbasa, instead of just slicing it into coins like I normally do. Another win! I thought the coins were always too large in comparison to the other ingredients.

I like this spicy, but not too spicy. I once tried making this with a full teaspoon of chipotle chili powder, and I thought it was too hot. Most recently, I used a half teaspoon—and then added just a little bit more (maybe 1/8 tsp more), and it was perfect.


Updated Quick Black Bean Soup

4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced (recommend using a large one)
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Seasoned salt, to taste
  • 13 oz. turkey kielbasa (may use pork, ham or omit altogether), diced
  • 2 14-oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed (may use 1 28-oz. can)
  • ½ tsp. chipotle chili powder (I use a heaping ½ tsp.—use more or less depending on desired heat level)
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 quart (4 cups) low-sodium chicken broth (may use vegetable broth)
  • 1 tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. dry sherry
  • Sour cream or shredded cheese (optional)

Steps:

1. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, bell pepper and garlic. Season with salt and sauté until the onions have softened and are starting to brown, about 8-10 minutes.

2. Heat a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the diced kielbasa and cook, stirring occasionally until it starts to lightly brown (last time I did this, it was too juicy to brown, but that was fine, as it’s already cooked, so it just needs to be heated).

3. To the soup pot, add the black beans, chili powder, oregano, cumin, smoked paprika, bay leaf, chicken broth, brown sugar and sherry. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-12 minutes.

4. Partially puree the soup: Remove about half the soup (about 3 cups) and either 1) transfer to a blender or food processor and puree, or 2) transfer to an appropriate container and puree with an immersion blender. 

5. Add the kielbasa and pureed portion of the soup to the soup pot and stir to combine. Taste, adjust seasoning and serve (if desired topped with a dollop of sour cream or a sprinkle of shredded cheese).

Monday, January 18, 2021

Chicken Noodle Soup with Homemade Broth

Every Thanksgiving I read stories from food writers urging home cooks to save their leftover turkey carcasses to make homemade soup broth. Every year, after carefully picking the meat of my turkey breast bones, I dutifully put the carcass in a ziplock freezer bag and stick it in the freezer with the best of intentions.

And those best intentions generally lead me to discover said carcass in May or June, wanting more room for something else in the freezer, and tossing it into the trash. Sorry rich turkey broth--not that year.

So this winter, I was determined to actually use my turkey carcass. And I did. And the results were awesome. And not so time-consuming (especially in pandemic times when I'm home basically always--okay not just basically, like literally always).

Making the broth was not complicated. I added the turkey bones to a cast-iron Dutch oven with 8 cups of low-sodium chicken broth seasoned with some dried herbs, brought the mixture to a boil and simmered for about an hour. Then I discarded the carcass, strained out any remaining solids with my spider strainer, and allowed the mixture to cool before transferring to a container to store in fridge until the next day when I would be using it for chicken noodle soup.

And the chicken noodle soup was dynamite good! The broth was fantastic. I went with a very simple recipe, but it was absolutely delicious. 

If you're not up for making homemade broth, you could still make this with 8 cups of good chicken broth (something that's a little better seasoned than the low-sodium broth I used to start with). Or if you don't have your turkey carcass, you could find a good recipe online for homemade broth. I like to make mine with chicken wings sometimes. 

Chicken Noodle Soup with Homemade Broth

Note: The soup should have 8 cups total of broth in it. Although I used 8 cups of store-bought chicken broth to make my soup broth, evaporation and the carcass soaking some up left me with 6 cups of homemade broth. So I added 2 additional cups of store-bought broth for the soup to have 8 cups total.

Broth (makes about 6 cups of broth):

  • Leftover turkey carcass (I use turkey breast bones)
  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp. dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
Soup:
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil (divided)
  • 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut or pounded to 1/2-inch thickness
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • Seasoned salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 yellow onion (about 200g)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced (about 175g)
  • 2 celery stalks, diced (about 100g)
  • Homemade broth from above (about 6 cups)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (use enough so that the homemade broth and the added broth total 8 cups)
  • 8 oz. dried egg noodles
Make the broth:
  1. Add the turkey carcass, 8 cups chicken broth, thyme and bay leaves to a Dutch oven or other large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for an hour. 
  2. Discard the turkey carcass, strain out any remaining solids and allow the broth to cool. Store in the fridge for up to a few days until ready to use (or freeze).
Make the soup:
  1. Heat 1 tbsp. vegetable oil over medium-high heat in large frying pan or skillet. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and season with garlic powder, seasoned salt and pepper. After the chicken has browned on one side (about 5-6 minutes), flip over and brown the other side. Continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through (165-170 degrees F). Turn off the heat and remove chicken from pan.
  2. While the pan is still hot, add 1 cup of chicken broth to deglaze the pan. Save this mixture.
  3. When the chicken has cooled a bit, transfer to a cutting board and chop into a fine dice.
  4. Heat 1 tbsp. vegetable oil in a Dutch oven or other large pot. Add the onion, carrot, and celery, season to taste with salt and pepper, and sauté until lightly browned, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The vegetables should brown and some may stick to the bottom.
  5. Add 1 cup of broth to the pot, and stir to deglaze the bottom of the pot, scraping a bit with a wooden spoon. Add the deglazing liquid from the pan the chicken was cooked in, the 6 cups of homemade broth, the diced cooked chicken. Increase heat and bring to a boil.
  6. Add the noodles, and reduce heat to medium. Cook about 8-10 minutes until the noodles are cooked through. Adjust seasoning and serve in shallow bowls (to allow the soup to cool off quicker).