October 22, 2014

Crockpot Crispy Caramelized Pork Ramen with Roasted Acorn Squash

Yes the name is quite a mouthful.  However this recipe, oh this recipe.  It was definitely one of my favorite meals I've ever made.  To quote DP, my eyes while eating it looked like "Call of the Wild meets Top Chef".  It left me kind of speechless.  I think I was actually dancing with anticipation while caramelizing the pork, because I mean, is there anything better than pork that's been caramelized in sesame oil and a sprinkle of brown sugar after slow cooking it all day long?  I'm beginning to think not.  We made a couple of small edits to make the recipe gluten free but we mostly stuck to the script.  I found this to be just a tad salty for my palette so next time I might ease up on the soy sauce element but I'm very sensitive to salt.  DP thought it was perfectly salty.

The recipe itself is not hard at all but I would say it's a little involved.  For a leisurely Sunday though I didn't mind sporadically tending to it throughout the day, step by step.  Since most of the cooking time happens in the crock pot you could pull this off on a weeknight if you planned well.  Whatever the case may be I highly encourage you to make this ramen.  It is, by far, the tastiest version I've had outside of the real deal.  Enjoy! (and maybe invite me over when you make it)

Crockpot Crispy Caramelized Pork Ramen with Roasted Acorn Squash
modified ever so slightly from Half Baked Harvest

  • 3 lbs of pork butt (shoulder)
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tblsp of low sodium soy sauce (Bragg's if you're gf)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tblsp of rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 2 tblsp of red curry paste
  • 1 tblsp of fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tblsp of sambal oelek (chili paste)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tblsp chinese five spice
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tblsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tblsp of brown sugar
  • 2 cups shiitake mushrooms, left whole
  • 4 packs ramen noodles (we used gf ones and they were great)
  • 4 soft boiled eggs for serving - I used this method
  • chopped carrots, cilantro, jalapeno + green onions for servings
Curry Roasted Acorn Squash
  • 1 medium acorn squash, seeded and diced
  • 2 tblsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tblsp curry powder (we used garam masala)
  • 1 tblsp white miso paste
  • 1 tblsp brown sugar
  • fresh ground pepper, to taste
  1. Add the pork to the bowl of the crockpot.  Pour the chicken broth, 1/2 cup of soy sauce, 1/4 cup of rice vinegar, fish sauce, red curry paste,  ginger, sambal oelek, lime juice, five spice, pepper, and 1 tblsp brown sugar into the pot.  Flip the pork around so it's all evenly coated and mixed together.  Cover and cook over low for 7 hours.
  2. About 40 minutes before the pork is set to be done preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. In a small bowl mix together the coconut oil, curry powder, miso, brown sugar, and pepper for the squash.  Add the diced squash and mix to evenly coat.  Bake for 30-40 minutes until soft, tossing a few times so the sides of the squash get a little crispy.
  4. Remove the pork from the crock pot once it's done and place in a bowl to shred with two forks or your hands.  Add mushrooms to broth in crock pot and cover again.
  5. Heat a large skillet or wok over medium high heat.  Add 1 tblsp sesame oil and once hot add about half of the pork.  While cooking sprinkle brown sugar over pork and 1 tblsp of soy sauce and rice vinegar.  Let the pork caramelize for 3-5 minutes stirring only once or twice.  Repeat process with remaining half of pork.  Keep the pork warm - I used the residual heat from roasting the squash to keep mine in the oven.
  6. Add the ramen noodles to the crock pot, cover and cook until soft.  At this point start your soft boiled eggs.  After noodles are soft, add half the pork to the crock pot.  Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with extra pork, carrots, green onions, cilantro, jalapeno, and boiled eggs.  Try not to let your jaw drop with amazement!

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