Boy, I was so eager to photograph this bowl of rich chicken ramen so I could eat it that I did not see the bit of green onion on the spoon handle! Oh well. This braised chicken ramen in super stock recipe came from an unusual source the Dynamite Chicken cookbook by Tyler Kord. The books subtitle conveys plenty of swagger but Kords instructions for prepping chicken are handy for chicken newbies. His recipes are fun and a little irreverent. Theyre not out to be ultra true to any specific cuisine, but they do get you to cook up chicken-y dishes.
I spent a major portion of my youth tinkering with instant ramen, seeing if I could dress it up. For that reason, I was intrigued. Additionally, this recipe was easy and used readily available ingredients. I shopped for the noodles and bought canned chicken broth at Target, for instance. The rest of the ingredients came from my pantry or freezer, in the case of the chicken leg and bacon. I even foraged in my garden. Kords combination of ingredients caught my eye too.
Whats up with the Bacon and Potato?
The recipe calls for bone-in, skin-on thighs but I had whole legs, which I like for textural difference. Theres just one slice of bacon required to get a lovely light smoky fattiness; you dont have resort to finding pig parts for the simple broth.
The potato thickens the broth, so it seems rich, like a mild tonkotsu broth, but without the actual fattiness to weigh you down. I thought the bacon and potato were brilliant and along with a ton of ginger and dried kelp (I use this brand of dashi kombu), the broth turned out fragrant and delicious in little time.
Choosing Noodles and Stock
I wanted to test the recipe with the most simple store ingredients, so I chose my go-to broth by Swanson and Maruchan instant ramen. (If youre interested in instant ramen rankings, see this Los Angeles Times article.) The ramen seasoning packet is used to finish the broth. Kord says you dont have to use it, but I did. It has a certain MSG, umami packed flavor.
If you prefer a non-instant ramen option, boil up dried Chinese-style noodles, like ones I used for the Sichuan beef noodle soup. In a pinch, you could use capellini pasta. Instant ramen brands like Maruchan have been fried so they taste rich. There are instant ramen noodles that are unfried so read the labels carefully.
Regardless of noodle type, I boiled the noodles separately to avoid the starches from clouding up the broth too much.
Chicken Ramen Topping Options
If you dont like the skin, remove it as the recipe says. I like it on the air-chilled chicken that I used so I kept it. Instead of chopping the seaweed, which I left cooking in the broth the entire time, I cut it into skinny pieces so theyd mix well with the noodles.
And from the garden, some old and new arugula. Kords suggestion was great because the spicy green added more oomph than spinach, which is the usual green used. The old stuff was a little tough, so I blanched it before adding to the bowls.
Make ahead tip: You prepare make this recipe and refrigerate the broth separate from the chicken and any toppings. Keep them chilled for up to 3 or 4 days and when your mood strikes, reheat things (microwave the chicken!) to whip up a bowl of tasty ramen.
Braised Chicken Ramen in Super Stock
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil or other neutral oil
- 2 bone-in chicken thighs or 1 chicken leg quarter, about 34 pound
- 1 strip bacon, standard cut
- 4 cups lightly salted chicken stock or canned broth
- 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 russet potato,unpeeled, sliced crosswise into 14-inch-thick rounds
- One 1-inch section ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 large piece kombu, about 5 by 5 inches
- 1 tablespoon dry vermouth or sake
- 2 packages instant ramen, chicken flavor, of course
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onion, white and green parts
- 1 lime, cut into wedges (optional)
- Optional toppings: Soft-boiled egg; cooked corn kernels cut off the cob; raw spinach or arugula; or raw mung bean sprouts (optional)
In a 3 to 4-quart pot, heat the oil over high heat until it is smoking. Add the chicken thighs, skin-side down, lower the heat to medium, and cook until nicely browned, 4 to 7 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the bacon, stock, onion, potato, ginger, kombu, and vermouth. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low, and simmer the stock. After about 30 minutes, remove the kombu, discarding it or reserving it to cut up and put back in the soup later.
Continue to cook the chicken in the stock for another 15 minutes, or until tender, maintaining a consistent level of liquid (about 4 cups) by adding water as necessary.
Set the chicken pieces aside while you strain the super stock through a medium-mesh sieve set over another pot. Debone the chicken and shred or cut the flesh into bite-size pieces; discard the skin, if you like.
Return the stock to the pot, bringing it to a boil, then add the packaged dried noodles and cook for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, if you reserved your kombu, chop it up finely (or thinly slice it into 2 to 3 inch lengths). When the noodles are cooked, add either 1 flavor packet or 2 teaspoons salt, throw in the chopped kombu, and stir well to incorporate. Divide the noodles and broth among two soup bowls. Arrange the chicken on top, then add the green onions along with any of the optional topping listed in the ingredient list. Serve with lime wedges on the side, if using.