Wednesday, July 06, 2011


serves roughly ten

For the dashi:
2 pounds beef neck bones
2 pounds pork neck bones
2 large pieces of Kombu
1 pound chicken backs or bones
1 pound chicken feet
2 pig trotters
1 pound smoky bacon, the smokiest you can get
2 ounces dried shiitake mushrooms
2 onions, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 bunch scallions, sliced
2 star anise
1/2 cup cane vinegar, or to taste
1/2 cup soy sauce, or to taste

Heat oven to 400°. Put beef and pork neck bones on sheet pan and roast in oven for 30 minutes. Flip bones and roast for an additional 15-30 minutes, until bones are deeply roasted.

While bones are roasting, put kombu in large stock pot and cover with 20 cups of cold water. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Let steep for 10 minutes. Remove kombu and discard or save for another use.

Put raw chicken backs or bones, chicken feet, pig trotters and bacon into the kombu water and return to the stove over medium heat.

When the beef and pork bones are done roasting, pour off any melted fat and save for another use. Add roasted bones to the water. Put roasting pan over a high flame and pour a cup or so of water into the pan to deglaze it. Scrape the pan with a spoon or spatula to remove any flavorful bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan. Pour all of this goodness into the stockpot with the bones. Be sure bones are submerged. If more water is required to submerge bones, add whatever it takes.

Bring stock just to a simmer, and allow to simmer slowly (a bubble or two every couple of seconds) overnight, occasionally skimming any scum that forms on top. Naturally, water will evaporate from the pot, so take note of the liquid’s starting level and replenish every hour or so as necessary.

Add mushrooms, onions, carrots, scallions and star anise. Simmer for one more hour.

Remove from heat and let fully cool under refrigeration or, if it is winter in Chicago, on a porch/stoop/fire escape. When cooled, the stock will be separated into solid fat at the top and gelatin beneath the fat. Scrape solidified fat from the top of the stock and discard, or save for another use, then reheat the stock until it is liquid again. Strain the stock through the finest strainer available. Reserve mushrooms for the pickled shiitake mushrooms and discard everything else.

Taste stock and add cane vinegar and soy sauce. Stir stock completely and taste again. Adjust flavor using additional amounts of these two seasoning agents. This broth should last about seven days.

For the pork belly:
2 pounds boneless pork belly, skin off
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 star anise
Salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in plastic bag designed to be vacuum sealed, evenly spacing ingredients. Vacuum seal bag, then place in an immersion circulator set around 142 degrees and cook for 12 hours. Let pork belly cool, then place in a pan, still in the bag. Cover with another pan, then weigh this pan down with heavy cans and refrigerate overnight. The idea is to compress the pork belly into a compact “block”. After pressing, remove belly from its bag. When ready to serve, sear pork belly on a hot cast iron pan over medium high heat, 3 minutes per side. Let cool slightly, then cut into thin slices.

For the pickled shiitake mushrooms:
Reserved shiitake mushrooms from dashi, sliced thin
1/4 cup dashi
1/2 cup cane vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon sambal (chile paste)
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

Bring all ingredients but the mushrooms to a boil. Pour over mushrooms and let cool. Cover and keep refrigerated. This’ll keep for about a week.

To assemble dish:
Good quality packaged or homemade ramen noodles
pork, beef and chicken dashi
pork belly sous vide
pickled shiitake mushrooms
scallions, sliced
radish Sprouts

Simmer noodles until cooked, then rinse in a bowl of very hot water. Drain, then place in a bowl. Add a few slices of pork belly and a few pickled shiitake mushrooms, arranging in an attractive manner. Sprinkle scallions and radish sprouts in bowl. Place a piece of nori in the bowl. Present to your guests. At the table, ladle hot dashi into each bowl. Serve with chopsticks.

bacon recipe courtesy of: Hugh Amano, Soup and Bread, Chicago, Illinois, April 5, 2011

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