Friday, March 20, 2009

ramen bowls (and chicken stock).

draining

Recently I made a large batch of chicken stock. I have posted about making stocks on a couple occasions, but since we've been making our own stocks a little less than a year now, I feel like we're past the "I wonder how this will turn out?" phase and we've gotten pretty reliable at busting out a good batch when we need to. Our process is pretty simple- rough chop a large bowl of vegetables- carrot, celery, onion, smashed garlic, maybe some shallot. Lightly saute in a huge stock pot, stick a chicken carcass on top, pour in some cold water, bring to a boil then lower the heat to a slow bubble, and skim the whole time- simmering for about 3-4 hours.

(By the way, I know I've pointed this out before, but making our own chicken stock really helps us stay within our grocery budget. Buying 2 large organic chicken breasts costs like 8 bucks or something like that, but 1 whole Draper Valley chicken only costs like 6 or 7 bucks, and you can break it down into portions for several different meals, and then use the carcass for a huge batch of stock, which you can then freeze and save for different meals. It's very economical- I recommend it. And healthier, no high sodium broth to worry about! Maybe someday I'll recruit a filmmaker friend and post a tutorial on how to break down a chicken.)

Of course, every batch has something different. Sometimes we add a parmesan rind, sometimes we roast the chicken first, eat the roasted meat for dinner, and make stock afterward with the browned carcass. This time, I left the onion skins on, hoping for (and getting) a rich dark color.

coldwaterbath

So, after making what ended up being- actually, I didn't measure. I started with 12 cups of water and I'm guessing I ended up with around 8 or 9 cups of stock. We used it in couscous, a buttery rice pilaf, and these awesome ramen bowls, and we still have a tiny bit left that is reaching "eat it or toss it" land. (Maybe I'll just have another noodle bowl for lunch today.)

noodlebowl3

I don't eat a lot of ramen, so I'm no expert, but I knew what I was in the mood for and it came out nicely. Inspired by this noodle bowl recipe, I just grilled some sliced vegetables (purple cauliflower, carrot, celery) and set them aside. In a bowl, I layered the grilled vegetables, cooked ramen noodles (from a Top Ramen packet, sans seasoning, haha) some sliced hard boiled egg, and a scattering of fresh cilantro and chopped scallions. Then I poured about a cup of hot broth over the top of each bowl. All I did to the broth was heat it up, and add about 2 tsp. of fish sauce. We didn't have any limes, but we could have used some.

noodlebowl2

At the table, we seasoned our bowls with soy sauce, sriracha, and a chili pepper blend that they serve with the noodle bowls at a local sushi chain- having a mildly photographic memory is pretty handy when you don't know the name of something but you know exactly what the package looks like. I picked it up at Uwajimaya.

Very tasty, but it could have used some added onion or garlic, in hindsight, either grilled, or sauteed and then added to the broth. We're sort of on a hunt for new dinner staples, and I think this sort of thing will make it onto the list.

16 comments:

Allie said...

I'll definitely be taking your chicken stock advice to heart! Thank you for your wonderful blog!

Kristina said...

Hi, Alicia. Great instructions. We must have stock on the brain this week-- I posted about making vegetable stock on Wednesday! It's the best, isn't it?

Jenn Sutherland said...

Mmmm, I think I'll make some quick pho myself, this evening, see if it can help kick my spring cold to the curb!

FYI - Glutenfreegirl posted a fantastic video of the Chef breaking down a chicken a few weeks ago. I've never seen a more friendly cooking vid!

http://glutenfreegirl.blogspot.com/2009/02/how-to-break-down-chicken-video.html

Kiki said...

I like this because it seems like a pretty good meal that fits the budget right about now. Keep it up :)

jdelacyolson said...

Yum! Great use for stock...I've been experimenting with ramen noodle dishes, but this looks great and really simple. Hmm...and might have to make some more stock today..thanks for the inspiration!

Coconut Girl Connie said...

i encourage you to do a chicken stock video! it is one of the commonalities of all of the ethnic food ingredients here in Hawaii..great job!

melroska said...

I was excited to see this post because I just made chicken stock last night! I used a chicken back and neck that I tossed in the freezer after the BF bought me a whole broken down chicken from our local halal butcher. It turned out so fantastic and I am itching to get home to make soup tonight.
PS - For me, chicken stock just isn't right unless you use a whole bunch of parsley...it's a childhood thing, but I definitely recommend trying it.

Wendy said...

O. M. G. That looks fantastic. Definitely love the grilled vegetables mixed in (I do chicken soup with roasted vegetables mixed in.)

sophstar's mama said...

I too use Top Ramen-sans-seasoning, haha. It can't be the healthiest option but it's by far the easiest and cheapest.
Gluten-Free Girl posted a video of how to break down a chicken not too long ago, too. I haven't watched it but it's supposed to be good.

The ScootaBaker said...

How cool is that! I thought I was the only one who fancy's up her Top Ramen! I used to request this msg-packed, 10 cent meal every friday when I was a kid. I asked ma for "noodly noodles". She made it with an egg and japanese fish cake. Love my mom, and love top ramen!

Localette said...

Great and simple idea! I've been cooking with ramen noodles lately, but have been stuck with only one recipe. This will be the next version, I think.

carboniferous said...

Yum! As for "things to add to stock", it's not limited to Parmesean rinds. The best stocks I've made have had rinds of all sorts of other cheeses, and some delis hold on to these for a day or so, which is definitely worth checking in on!

Molly Sophia said...

How did you get such a high angle on those photos?

anthony said...

"and skim the whole time"

why do you do this? is it just to remove the fat (i.e. if one isn't concerned about fat intake, it isn't necessary)?

Alicia Lynn Carrier said...

anthony, when you make stock, a scummy layer of bubbles forms on the top of the liquid, and it looks pretty gross. sometimes it's really grey and sludgy looking. you skim it off because it would cloud the stock and it looks nasty, not because of any fat content issues. in fact, the fat is liquified when the stock is hot, so you can't remove it until the stock is chilled and it coagulates at the top.

Alicia Lynn Carrier said...

molly- i was standing on a stool. :)