In recent years, ramen shops have popped up in almost every corner of many major cities in North America. Most people think of ramen as the heavily flavoured, rich pork broth, but in Japan, there are many varieties of ramen broth like light milky ones, vegetable-based broths and seafood broths.
There are many types of ramen bowls, but the one we will be making is a heavier, richer-flavoured one using roasted pork bones. Ask your local butcher for the neck bones as these will give a lot of flavour and are fairly inexpensive. You can also go to Asian grocery stores as they will often have them in stock.
Have your oven at 230c/450f. Roast the bones for at least 45 minutes to 1 hour. You want the bones to be deeply caramelized to develop that rich flavour. When the roasting is done, transfer the bones to a stock pot and fill ¾ to the top with water. Bring to a boil then simmer for at least 4 hours. The longer you simmer the bones the better, but within reason. If you can manage, try to have it simmering for about 6 hours. Add more water as necessary.
While the broth is simmering, place the pork shoulders or belly into the broth and have it poach for about 2 hours. Once the shoulders have finished poaching, remove them and let them cool to room temperature and then place them in the fridge. It’s easier to slice when they are cold.
Near the end of the simmering process, add the kombu and katsuobushi into the broth and simmer for another hour. Once finished, strain out all the ingredients. The pork neck bones will likely have some meat on them. If you want to do a bit of extra work, and gain more meat, sort the bones and pull off the bits of pork.
For the toppings, sear the shitake mushrooms and enoki mushrooms. Personally, I like to serve my ramen with a raw egg. If you have access to a sous vide bath, you can poach the eggs onsen style by keeping them in 63c/145f water for 45 minutes. If runny yolk is not quite your way, you can always do a simple hard-boiled egg.
There are a variety of ramen noodles and most grocery stores carry them nowadays. Make sure to read the cooking instructions of the one you purchased as they do vary.
To assemble, place the noodles in a bowl first, then pour in enough broth to cover the noodles, and place the accompaniments on top. Top off with a dash of Black Maple to add to the colour and taste.