Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Slow Cooker Ramen Noodle Soup

I've been getting a lot of requests for slow cooker recipes. I have many friends/family in cold weather states so I wanted to find a way for everyone to warm up! It does get a "little" chilly here in Santa Barbara, about 60 degrees at night. Brrr! :)

This recipe is probably one of the better things I have experimented with in a while. I adapted it from a recipe I found on a fellow food blogger's site. I will be the first to admit that I don't completely make up everything that I cook. This recipe warms the soul and has some flavor that will knock your socks off!

Servings: 6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 9 hours

*3 Pound pork shoulder roast
*6 Cups chicken broth, divided
*1/2 Cup soy sauce (+4 Tablespoons to use later)
*1/4 Cup rice vinegar (+4 Tablespoons to use later) (I found at grocery in asian section)
*1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger
*2 Tablespoons chili paste (sold at TJ's)
*Juice of 1 lime
*1 Tablespoon chinese 5 spice powder (asian section)
*1 Teaspoon black pepper
*2 Tablespoons sesame oil (asian section)
*1 Tablespoon brown sugar (+4 Tablespoons to use later)
*1 Pint of bella or button mushrooms, sliced
*4 Packs of ramen noodles (throw away spice packet)
*Chopped chives, garnish
*Sliced carrots, garnish
*Chopped cilantro, garnish
*Soft boiled eggs (optional!)

Roasted Butternut Squash
*2 pound butternut squash, seeded and diced (I buy mine pre-diced at Costco, saves time!)
*3 Tablespoons olive oil
*1 Tablespoon salt
*1 Tablespoon pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Spread the butternut squash out on a sheet pan and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Cook for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Cover sheet pan with foil and put in fridge. (You can do this day of, but you will see how it's nice to have this step done)

Turn your slow cooker to warm. Put the pork shoulder in first. Then add on top 4 cups of the chicken broth, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup rice vinegar over the pork. Add the ginger, chili paste, lime juice, Chinese five spice powder, black pepper and 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Swirl all the ingredients around and then leave it alone for 8 hours. Do not touch it!

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and put the butternut squash in to warm it up. Should take about 20 minutes.

Remove the pork shoulder from the slow cooker and put on a cutting board. Throw your sliced mushrooms into the broth and crank the heat up to high on the slow cooker. Add the additional 2 cups of chicken broth in on top. Cover.

Shred the pork shoulder with a fork, it should just pull apart. Meanwhile, heat a skillet to medium high and add about 1 Tablespoon of sesame oil. Let it heat up, and it batches throw in the shredded pork. Enough to cover the top of the skillet. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar on top. Toss it around and cook for about 3 minutes. Do this in batches, should be about 4 batches. (You can skip this step, but it is worth it!)

While the pork is cooking, chop your carrots/chives/cilantro and set aside. Also, while your pork is cooking if you want the soft boiled eggs this is a good time. Put whole eggs in a pot of cold water. Heat up and as soon as it boils, cover and let sit for 2 minutes. Let cool and cut in half to put on top of ramen.

Once all of the above is done, add the ramen to the slow cooker. I did this only 2 packets at a time. You do not want to leave the noodles in long. They suck up all of the broth, do not let them sit in there. As soon as they are soft, remove and start putting in bowls.

Assembly time! Start with the noodles in the bottom. Ladle in some broth/mushrooms. Top with butternut squash, crispy pork, cilantro, chives, carrots, and soft boiled egg. Serve with chili paste on the side for those that want it spicier.

Done! I know the above looks a little overwhelming but if you need more time to do each step nothing is going to get ruined. That's the beauty of the slow cooker.

Happy slow cooking!!