Ramen isn’t just about the noodles, it’s equally about the broth: without a decent soup base you’re left with a bowl of wet noodles. I knew the Momofuku ramen broth would be the most time-consuming of the sub-recipes, but also one of the most critical, so I got an early start on what became a day-long process.
I assembled my ingredients: two 3-by-6 inch pieces of konbu, two cups of rinsed dried shiitake mushrooms, four pounds of chicken legs, six pounds of pork neck bones, and a pound of smoky bacon (not shown).
I rinsed the konbu under cold running water, then added it to six quarts of water in a large stockpot. I brought the water to a simmer over high heat, turned off the heat, and let the konbu steep for ten minutes.
I removed the konbu and added the mushrooms, bringing the water back to a boil before returning it to a simmer. While the mushrooms simmered for thirty minutes, I heated my oven to 400 °F.
Konbu, mushrooms — that’s a solid umami base upon which to layer more flavors. After removing the mushrooms, I added the chicken, which simmered for an hour.
While the chicken simmered, I roasted the pork bones on a sheet pan in the oven for an hour.
I removed the chicken, then added the bones and the bacon, keeping the pot at a gentle simmer, skimming foam off the surface, and adding water to maintain the volume. After adding the bones, I had a pan full of fond that couldn’t go to waste, so I disolved it on some boiling water and added it to the pot.
I also picked the chicken meat off the bones since it was still firm and seasoned with mushroom and konbu. I stored it on the fridge to use as a component for a quick meal.
Forty-five minutes after it was added, I removed the bacon and discarded it. I know, I discarded bacon. I just couldn’t figure out what to do with boiled bacon which had given up most of its fat and flavor, but now I had a huge pot of bacon dashi with more meaty goodness added. I continued to simmer and skim the pot for six hours, but stopped replenishing the water after hour five.
For the last hour of simmering, I added a bunch of scallions, a medium onion cut in half, and two large chopped carrots.
At the end of the final hour, it was time to strain out my final product.
I removed the pork bones with a large spider, then strained the broth into a second pot. I reserved six cups of broth for the next day’s ramen, seasoning it with taré until it was almost, but not quite, too salty. I stored it in the fridge, where it awaited its soupy destiny.
I reduced the remaining broth by half and portioned it into cup and a half servings, which can be reconstituted with an equal volume of water for later use. I froze these in the Deep Storage Facility.
Taré made, pork(s) roasted, broth prepared – the next day would be the home stretch.
Pork bones, chicken legs, konbu, shiitakes, scallions: H Mart
Bacon: North Country Smokehouse