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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

All Day Pork Noodle Soup

The image just doesn't capture the hours and hours and hours that go into something like this. But before we get into all that, what's my inspiration for this particular bowl? Momofuku.

The book. The thoughts. The stories.

There's a section that talks about the pork used in the restaurant, Noodle Bar. Your mouth waters...or at least mine did. I just imagined slow cooking a pork shoulder for 6 hours, or maybe 8...yeah, 8 sounded right.

That was the whole point of the exercise. Not this dish you see. Not noodles. Not even the broth. Just cooking pork for 8 hours.

So I went over to my local butcher (aka Stater Bros) and grabbed a nice 3 pound chunk of shoulder. I trimmed the fat off the top and cut it into 2x2 inch chunks, set it aside. In a bowl, I mixed 1/4 cup brown sugar with a few Tbsp of salt and sugar. I put the pork into a large bowl, poured the sugar/salt mixture over the top and worked it in for a minute. I got out my slow cooker and crammed it into the bottom.

I chopped a whole sweet onion and smashed that down on top of the pork. I then layered the fat over the top of the onions, sprinkled some peppercorns and 2 bay leaf on the top and set it to low.

After about six hours, I removed the pork and cubed it. replaced it into the slow cooker and mixed it all up nice. After 7 hours, I shredded the pork with a fork, and gave it another stir. By hour 8, it was ready for liftoff.

But by the time I was about 5 hours into the day, I started thinking..."hmmm, do I go with a ramen, or with a taco, or with a Korean taco, or as Adobo, or . . . . " My brain was going all different directions. I couldn't decide, so I figured I'd go for all of them over the next day or so.

And I landed on soup for tonight.

Well, around hour 6 on the pork, I pulled out the bone and a few chunks of nice meat and onions. I dropped those in a pot and fried up for a minute. I added a lot of water, and some sake, soy sauce and Mirin. Added a carrot, some green onion, some cracked pepper. Brought it to a boil, then down to a long simmer....two hours long...the kind that says, "oh yeah."

But I was out of ramen noodles, but had some other good ones. Chopped some green onion. I did pull some fish cake out of the freezer, but it smelled off and it's entirely possible that it was more than 2 years old...not good.

And there you have my 8 hour pork noodle journey.

Now I'm craving adobo and I think I'll give that a crack tomorrow.


~ Brock

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