Sunday, September 29, 2013

Pulled Pork Ramen with Jalapeno Paste and Sauteed Mushrooms

Sometimes a trait or characteristic that seemed fixed and essential to defining ourselves can turn out to be not so unchanging after all.

I am the structured one in this relationship. I like having plans. If I'm going to sit and play notes on the keyboard, I absolutely positively need sheet music in front me. Without sheet music in front of me, there is nothing for me to do. If I'm playing with Max, I don't truly play, but instead declare it the time to count buttons in Spanish or the time to research flightless birds.

Seth, in contrast, eschews the structure, the structure to which I cling, and gravitates towards free play. He actually can play with Max in the way that play is actually meant to be done with a small child. When he sits in front of the keyboard, he explores all while rejecting my idea of playing a song from a book.

But when it comes to the kitchen, our characteristic structured/free play aspects reverse. He thrives under the guidance of instruction, while I feel constricted.

So Seth was skeptical about my free form, admittedly time-consuming kitchen play that led to this ramen. He did not think it would be something edible. but indeed it was, an umami filled bowl of deliciousness.  One full of pulled pork and a garlicky jalapeno paste and sauteed mushrooms and soft-boiled eggs.  One that can bridge the divide between the structuralists and free form players, even when that divide is within ourselves.

For the mushrooms:
8 ounces, sliced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
splash soy sauce
freshly ground pepper

For the jalapeno paste:
400 degrees
4 jalapenos, halved
5 garlic cloves
extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon grated ginger

For the pulled pork:
4 lb pork shoulder
black pepper
1 tablespoon miso
1 tablespoon ground dried porcini mushrooms
1/4 cup mirin
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon ume plum vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons liquid smoke
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 bottle porter beer (I like using Deschutes Black Butte)

For the broth:
1 large onion, quartered
2 scallions
2 celery stalks
handful baby carrots
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon cloves
cinnamon stick
2 star anise
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon miso
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon liquid smoke

soft boiled eggs - Cooking Light has good instructions for this (1 for each bowl)
16 ounces fresh ramen noodles
chopped scallions

To make the mushrooms: Melt the butter and olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Once the butter has melted and the bubbles in the mixture have started to subside, add the chopped mushrooms. Stir continuously, allowing the mushrooms to absorb the butter and oil mixture. After a few minutes, the mushrooms will brown. Drizzle with the soy sauce and sprinkle freshly ground black pepper.

To make the jalapeno paste: Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Place jalapeno halves and garlic cloves in a small baking dish. Drizzle olive oil, and sprinkle a pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper.  Roast for 15 minutes, until jalapenos have browned.  Once roasted, place in food processor and add two tablespoons of olive oil and the grated ginger.  Pulse until a paste forms, adding more olive oil if needed.

To make the pulled pork: Rub the pork shoulder with freshly ground black pepper, miso, and the ground mushrooms.  Place in crockpot.  Pour mirin, vinegars, sesame oil, liquid smoke, brown sugar, soy sauce, and beer over it.  Set crockpot on high and cook for 5-6 hours, until the pork falls off the bone and is cooked through.

To make the pulled pork broth: Remove the pork from its cooking liquid.  Wrap peppercorns, clove, cinnamon, and star anise in cheese cloth.  Add onion, scallions, celery, carrots, cheesecloth with the spices, soy sauce, miso, vinegar, and liquid smoke to the pork cooking liquid.  Cook in crockpot for 2-3 hours on low.  Strain.

For the ramen bowls: Cook noodles according to package directions.  To serve, place some noodles, pulled pork, and soft boiled egg in a bowl and ladle broth over.  Sprinkle chopped scallions and place a bit of jalapeno paste on top.


  1. I miss ramen! This looks so delicious and satisfying, Jenn.

  2. Tasty ramen recipe!

  3. This is a far cry from the beloved ramen of my college days! Wow!!
    I thrive on structure (& routine) too - it's nice to use the kitchen as a form of escapism.

  4. Love the flavors in this dish! The heat from the jalapeno paste is perfect!

  5. I love the use of the ramen in this dish! I bet this tastes awesome!

  6. If you're going to head out on uncharted, improvised territory, then cooking is the perfect way to go about it! This ramen sounds awesome! THat jalapeno paste..whoa.

  7. now this is my idea of a good bowl of soup on a cool day!

  8. Just back for blogging after my vacation and finding such a tasty surprise, Jenn!
    Love Asian inspired dishes and the sweet sour twist sounds so good.
    Thanks for sharing!

  9. I think the best area to explore your ability to improvise is definitely cooking! Some of the most delicious dishes worldwide happened either by trial ans error or by mistake. No wonder this dish looks and sounds like a small miracle!

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