I. am. so. funny. SO funny, in fact, that I stole that joke from someone else. Rather unabashedly, in fact. Miso shameless. Miso ridiculous. Miso hilarious. If mido say so miself.
It's Friday. You didn't expect sanity here, did you?
Today's bout of absurdity is sponsored, though, brought to you by my lovely coworker M, who trekked to the furthest reaches of our fair suburbs to bring me white miso. I needed 4 tablespoons; I now have 2 pounds. You're probably going to see it show up here a lot as I attempt to work my way through the remainder.
I adapted this from a recipe I found at Momofuku for 2, which refers to chicken ramen as "my kind of trashy comfort food."
A note to my legions: Trashy is swiftly becoming a theme around the Woodside.
It's ultimately a breeze to put together, but there are elements that need individual attention, so it requires more focus than I'm generally known to assign a task (read: any). Here they are in finer detail:
What you can't see, at the bottom of the bowl, are the ramen noodles. I used pre-packaged dry ramen, the kind that comes molded into a brick with the foil packet of poison (also known as the "seasoning mix," responsible for ramen's bad reputation, which contains—wait for it—1,200 mg of sodium). That went into the garbage. Spooned on top are shreds of rotisserie chicken, quite tasty but looking awfully pallid here, blanched spinach, buttered corn, a (too-)soft-boiled egg, thin slices of raw onion, and pretty rolls of green onion—because they make everything look lovelier, and because there were some in the refrigerator.
The miso had an earthy smell I didn't expect; one of the listed ingredients is, sort of ominously, "alcohol," and the best way to describe it is that it made my chicken broth smell a bit like beer. The original recipe suggested tasting the broth for seasoning and adjusting accordingly because not all miso is created equally, apparently. Not having a firm idea of what my miso broth was supposed to taste like, I mostly blundered along blindly. I was instructed to soft-boil the eggs for 6 minutes, but as you can see that wasn't really long enough. I love a silken, runny yolk, which in this case partnered up with the buttered corn for some terrific richness, but these were definitely collapsed centers as opposed to wobbly ones.
(Note: I did as directed and ran the eggs under cold water for a few minutes directly after boiling, and they did peel more dreamily than any other boiled egg I've ever attempted. It must be said, though, that not-quite-firmly-boiled eggs are a delicate business.)
This recipe didn't really have a failure potential, because it combines so many of my favorite things—soft eggs, chicken, noodles, and deep, can't-quite-put-your-finger-on-it flavor—but the real surprise for me was the effect of the raw onions. There are people in my life who will run girl-screaming from the room if they catch sight of a raw onion, but these added necessary crunch, that beloved bite, and a really unexpected sweetness.
Still, as I've wandered this culinary labyrinth lately, like the unmotivated mouse I am, I do find that I'm accidentally learning a thing or two. And as I prepared to make this meal, there was something nagging me in the back of my brain: The flavors seemed a little too mild for me. Delicious, yes, and variously sweet, salty, rich, and bright, but something fell flat in my first virtual taste. And my first real taste confirmed it. This recipe really doesn't need any improvement, and it would be just right for many people, but for me, it needed a squeeze of sriracha to tie it all together. A spritz of lime juice might do it, too, if you don't like spicy foods, but there was just a tiny voice in the expanses of my tangled brain that whispered, "acid."
At least I think that's what it meant.
This really is comfort food at its best, which is trashy, and I know I'll think of it the next time I'm sick, or cold, or tired, or just craving a big bowl of my favorite things.
Chicken Miso Ramen
8 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
4 tablespoons shiro miso (white miso)
2 (3-ounce) packages ramen noodles (any flavor), seasoning packets discarded
2 cups frozen whole-kernel corn
4 cups spinach leaves
2 tablespoons butter
3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1 small white onion, thinly sliced
2 green onions, chopped
1. Place broth in a stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat; stir in miso until thoroughly mixed and heated through. Reduce heat to low, stirring occasionally.
2. In a medium saucepan, cook noodles according to package directions. Drain, and divide among 4 serving bowls. Add water to pot, and bring to a boil. Place eggs into boiling water; cook 6 to 8 minutes, according to preference. Drain, and run under cold water until cool; peel and slice in half.
3. Sauté corn in butter in a small skillet, stirring until kernels are heated through.
4. Meanwhile, add water and kosher salt to medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Cook spinach just until wilted and bright green; drain.
5. Arrange chicken, sliced onion, spinach, and corn over noodles in serving bowls. Top each serving with miso broth, and then eggs and green onions. Stir in sriracha, if desired. Serves 4.