Have you ever heard of a ramen broth with Pinot Noir in it? Well, now you have, courtesy of the wacky Food Network chef Justin Warner. He recently teamed up with Robert Mondavi Private Selection to develop funky and seemingly far-fetched recipes for the winery.
If adding Pinot Noir to a ramen broth sounds particularly eyeball-crossing, hear Justin out: "Most ramen has pork, and I think that Pinot Noir, especially central coast Pinot Noir, has bite, really great acidity, and some backbone to it. With a good ramen, you have a lot of lipids and fat in that broth, which is what makes it taste excellent. You need something that is going to be able to take it down [so you can] revisit [each bite] with a clean palate."
The ramen broth is the nectar of the gods . . . probably because it's doused with a hefty pour of Pinot Noir. As Justin mentions, the Pinot Noir adds acidity to the fatty broth, thus balancing out the richness. It may sound complex, but don't worry; this recipe isn't too complicated. "I made a classic shoyu-style ramen broth. I don't see this [recipe] as being scaled back, I see it as being inventive and for some reason simple. I made a great tonkotsu pork-style broth where you have to saw bones in half using a skill saw. I've done it. But I mean really, is that something anyone wants to do? It's fun for reading like a fluffy magazine about people who do that professionally, but for a home cook, we'll make a shoyu broth," says Justin.
Poached egg, pork tenderloin, bacon, corn, and salty, fatty broth . . . the ramen certainly lives up to its tricked-out name. The recipe only calls for four ounces of wine, meaning there is plenty to sip on while slurping the ramen. I could tell you my wine tasting notes — that the cherry and smoky oak flavors complement the sweet corn and carrots, smoky bacon, and soy sauce. But I won't bore you with those details. This isn't SAT wine prep, after all. It's good food and excellent wine, thrown together in a beautifully disastrous way.
Feel free to adjust the ginger as well as the soy sauce measurements, so the ramen is as spicy and salty as you prefer.
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
2 strips bacon
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/2 ounce ginger, peeled and minced
1 ear of corn, shucked and cut from cob
6 teaspoons soy sauce, divided
1 tablespoon butter, divided
1/2 portobello mushroom cap, sliced
1 ounce carrot, julienned
4 ounces pork tenderloin
4 ounces Pinot Noir, like Robert Mondavi Private Selection Pinot Noir
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus some for seasoning
2 packs of instant ramen noodles (any flavor, with the flavor packet discarded and forgotten about)
- The egg: Preheat oven to 300ºF. In the smallest pot you have, bring 2 cups of water and white vinegar to barely a simmer. Crack the egg and slowly add it to the simmering water. Using a slotted spoon, gently flick some of the hot water on top of the egg. After 3-5 minutes, when the white is opaque and no longer wispy, remove from heat and use the slotted spoon to gently remove the egg. Very carefully, run the egg under a tiny stream of cool water to stop the cooking. This might take a little practice, but I believe in you. Set the egg aside, still in the slotted spoon. Add a tiny pinch of salt to the egg.
- The bacon: In a 3-quart sauce pot, cook bacon over medium heat until almost crisp, about 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook this until the garlic and ginger browns, about 1 minute. Using tongs and a wooden spoon, carefully (but quickly) remove the garlic, ginger, and bacon; reserve on a baking sheet.
- The corn: Now, cook the corn in the bacon fat until slightly browned, about 3-4 minutes. At the 2-minute mark, add 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce to the corn. Remove the corn and reserve on the baking sheet.
- The mushrooms and carrots: Add 1/2 tablespoon butter to the saucepan, and cook the mushrooms and 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce for about 4 minutes until soft. Remove the mushrooms and place on the baking sheet. Repeat this exact process with the julienned carrot. Add 1/2 tablespoon butter to the saucepan, and cook the carrots and 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce for about 4 minutes until soft. Remove the carrots and place on the baking sheet.
- The pork: Add the pork tenderloin to the saucepan and cook to medium, about 8-10 minutes. Slice and reserve on the baking sheet. By this point, your pot should be littered with tasty bits, caramelized what-nots, and bacon/butter drippings.
- Meanwhile: Place the baking sheet in the oven to get all of the ingredients (except the egg) hot again.
- The broth: Deglaze the pan with the Pinot Noir. Carefully pour the wine into the sauce pan and scrape all those tasty bits free with a wooden spoon, metal spoon, or rubber spatula. Now add 3 cups water, the reserved bacon/ginger/garlic mix, the soy sauce, and the salt, and bring to a very rapid boil. Boil for 7-10 minutes so that the flavors concentrate and reduce.
- The noodles: Put the noodles in the boiling broth and cook according to package directions, until they are no longer rigid. Using tongs, remove the noodles from the broth and place in a big soup bowl. Carefully remove the baking sheet and excellently arrange all the ingredients on top of the noodles. Add the egg carefully. Fill with the broth. Wait 1 minute, and devour.
- Main Dishes, Pork
- 1 large bowl (serves 2)
- Total Time
- 59 minutes, 59 seconds