My new approach to making ramen broth is to make the stock in stages. When I first thought of the idea, I wasn’t sure if the end result of broken-down cooking time would differ from continuous cooking, but now I know that broken-down cooking time yields the same deep, meaty, luxurious broth. In fact, this time around the broth was even better. I can’t give all the credit to the broken down cooking time though. The real reason why the broth was better is due to the ingredient switches I made.
I made the stock over two days which broke down the cooking time considerably on each day. The first day I steeped the 2 pieces of konbu for 10 minutes and boiled the shiitakes for half an hour. By the time that was done it was time to head over to the in-laws for some dinner so I just covered the pot of seaweed-mushroom flavoured water and turned off the burner.
When I got home, the pork neck bones went into a 400˚F oven to roast for an hour and the four pounds of chicken legs were added to the seaweed-mushroom water to simmer slowly while the pork bones were roasting. Since I had some problems with how little stock I ended up making the last time I tried this, when I put the chicken in I made note of where the water level rose to so I could replenish as needed
An hour later, the chicken legs were taken out and the roasted pork bones went it. The pound of sliced bacon went in as well. The bacon hung out in the stock for 45 minutes before I pulled it out and saved it to make a bacon waffle. Using sliced bacon was better than slab bacon for this reason alone: boiled sliced bacon looks only mildly unappetizing, but boiled slab bacon doesn’t look good at all. Plus, with sliced bacon you can make a bacon waffle!
By the time I finished making the bacon waffle, the stock with the pork bones had been on a happy simmer for about 3 hours, but still had 4 more to go. I was tired and in the spirit of experimentation I let the broth cool down and asked Mike to rearrange the fridge so the pot would fit in.
The next day, the pot was pulled out and broth was brought to a simmer for another 4 hours. The great thing about the stock at this point was that I didn’t really need to babysit it, you just need to occasionally skim off scum and replenish water. After the 7 hour simmering mark aromatics like carrots, onions and green onions are added. After the aromatics are strained out, the broth was finished by seasoning with taré.
Even after seasoning and two days of cooking, we didn’t even have ramen. Instead it went in the fridge for another day. It’s a great broth to make ahead of time and if you don’t have a lot of time each day I think you could break down the cooking time even more without the broth suffering. I know when I gave it a taste, it was comparable if not better than my original attempt. This ramen broth is definitely doable over several days. Soon I will build up my stock of frozen ramen broth!