Meal Mondays: Slow-Cooker Ramen


The Recipe:
Adapted from this Chowhound recipe, this is my first attempt at a ramen more sophisticated than Mr. Noodle cups.

The Ingredients:
1 2lb. beef roast (choose a cheaper, tougher cut)
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 leek, halved lengthwise and coarsely chopped (white and green parts)
1 cup cremini or button mushrooms, chopped
Soy sauce, sesame oil, and salt and pepper to season
4 servings dried ramen noodles
8 large eggs (optional)
1 generous handful spinach, chopped
4 green onions, finely chopped (white and pale green parts) or 1 cup mung bean sprouts, to garnish

The Method:
1. Season the beef with salt. Heat oil in a large frying pan set over medium-high heat, then brown the beef on all sides, 3-4 minutes a side. Set beef aside. Add the onion to the pan and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, ginger, and 1 cup of the broth and deglaze the pan, stirring and scraping up any browned bits, then let simmer for 1 minute.
2. Transfer the beef and the onion mixture to the slow cooker. Add the leek, mushrooms, and the remaining 7 cups of broth, and stir to combine. Cover and cook on the low-heat setting for 8 hours. The pork should be very tender and the broth should be fragrant.
3.Set water to boil according to ramen package directions. In another pot, put on the eggs to soft-boil. Remove beef from slow cooker and shred with two forks, removing any large chunks of fat. Return shredded beef to slow cooker and add the spinach. Season to taste with soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, and pepper.
4. When the noodles are done, add them to the slow cooker. Serve soup into bowls. Peel the eggs, cut in half, and place on top of soup, along with green onions or bean sprouts. Serve.

The Verdict:
This is a recipe I’d like to play with. I didn’t love the heavy ‘slow-cooker’ taste that the broth and beef acquired after 8 hours in the slow-cooker. I might experiment with recreating this in a Dutch oven instead, or alternatively trying 4 hours on high instead of 8 on low. There are also  vegetable variations to think about– carrot, bok choy, etc. However. All in all, a solid step up from Mr. Noodle, and the Partner in Crime did have three bowls, so.

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