Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Ramen with Braised Short Ribs

Japanese Ramen restaurants are popping up with huge popularity in major cities and towns.  The variety of soups served with freshly made ramen noodles are really exciting to discover.  Traditional ramen soup is usually served in pork broth or miso broth with green onions, vegetables and braised pork belly.  This homemade variation of ramen soup combines braised beef short ribs with shiitake mushrooms, broccolini, carrots, green onions, and nori in a beef miso broth mix.  The tempura yams are optional.

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 100 minutes
Special Tools: Dutch Oven or Cast Iron Pot
Special Ingredients: Nori - roasted seaweed usually sold in sheets (usually used in wrapping sushi).  Miso Concentrate (usually available in powder form or paste -recommend Miso & Easy brand by marukome).  Fresh or Dried Organic Ramen noodles.   All three items can usually be found in Asian Specialty Food Stores or Japanese Specialty Food Stores.


2 lb. Beef Short Ribs (cut into 4 pieces)
Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3 Garlic Cloves peeled and kept whole
3 Cups Beef Stock
1 Small Yam peeled and cut into 1/4 inch thick coins (optional)
1/2 Cup Tempura Mix (optional)
Vegetable Oil (optional)
2 Cups Shiitake Mushrooms cut into strips
12 oz. Ramen Noodles (fresh if possible)
2 Tablespoons Miso
1 Cup Green Onions julienned and divided
1 Cup Carrots peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 Cup Broccolini stems cut into matchsticks
2 Nori Sheets cut into 2 inch squares

Season the beef short ribs with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Position the rack in the oven to accommodate the dutch oven or cast iron pot.  Leave a second rack available below that. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large dutch oven or cast iron pot place the olive oil over medium high heat on the stove top.  Add the ribs to the pot and brown on all sides (about 3 minutes on each side).  Toss in the garlic cloves and stir fry in the oil for about 1 minute.  Pour in the beef stock and add enough water to keep at least 3/4 of the meat submerged in the liquid.  Make sure the ribs are positioned with the meat side down and the bone side up.  Bring the pot to a boil.  Scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pot.  Cover the pot and place it in the oven to braise for 90 minutes.

This paragraph is optional for those who want to include sweet potato tempura with your ramen.  Forty five minutes into the braising, line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Place the coined yams onto the sheet and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Place the yams into the oven on the rack below the braising meat.  Let cook for 15 minutes - softening the yams, but keeping them slightly firm. Remove the yams from the oven and let cool.   In a medium bowl, combine the tempura mix with 3/8 Cup ice cold water.  Whisk the tempura mix until it turns into a smooth paste.  Heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat in a small skillet (oil should be about 1/2 inch deep).  In small batches, dip the coined yams into the tempura mix to coat lightly with the paste.  Place the coated yams into the hot oil and fry for about 2 minutes on each side or until the mix turns a golden light brown color.  Set the tempura yams aside onto a plate lined with paper towel.

After 90 minutes, remove the dutch oven or cast iron pot from the oven.  Remove the braised short ribs from the pot and set aside on a plate tented with aluminum foil to keep warm.  Remove the garlic cloves from the stock and discard.  Add 6 Cups water to the stock and bring to a boil.  Add the Shiitake Mushrooms and let them cook for about 2 minutes.  Add the Miso to the mix to flavor the broth  Add the ramen noodles and cook until al dente (fresh cooks in 2 minutes, dried in about 4 minutes). Remove the pot from the heat.   Stir in the green onions.

To serve, ladle the soup and noodles equally into 4 large bowls.  Place one short rib onto each bowl. Garnish each bowl with carrots, broccolini and Nori strips.  Add tempura yams to the bowls if using. Serve and enjoy.

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