Here are some questions you may have when making this recipe:
Do I really have to cook this for TWO HOURS??
We don’t want to make you do anything you’re not comfortable with. But we found that 2 hours is the sweet spot for flavor extraction and reduction. Also, you don’t really do anything during that time except for maybe cook an egg or two—plenty of time to watch an old Eddie Murphy movie or stare endlessly into the antisocial abyss that is your smartphone!
BUT BUT BUT Why do I have to skim it?
Skimming the broth during the first 10 minutes will force you to pay attention to the hardness of the simmer, observe the water level in the pot, and get to know the broth. Also, we found that with rotisserie chicken (unlike plain old raw chicken), there is some rendered grease that can emulsify in a muddy way. Our early stabs at this broth went unskimmed; they came out murky and tasted sort of flat. This approach yields a cleaner-tasting and clearer soup—and a better bowl of ramen.
- 1 rotisserie chicken, whole or leftover
- 4 scallions
- 1 piece (1") fresh ginger, thinly sliced
- 1 small carrot (optional)
- 1 dried shiitake mushroom
- 3 slices bacon (about 2 oz)
- 12 C water
- 4 portions ramen noodles (preferably fresh)
- 8 t soy sauce
- 2 cooked eggs (optional but very nice)
If you’re starting with a leftover rotisserie chicken carcass, scavenge it for good meaty bits, and set them aside. If you have purchased a cooked chicken expressly for this recipe, then carefully cut away the breast meat, reserve the drumsticks, and use your fingers to shred off the leg meat—but just the big, fit-for-a-king pieces that come away easily. You can leave plenty of chicken on the carcass; that clingy meat will make for a flavorful soup. Pull or slice the meat into bite-size pieces and reserve in the fridge while you make the broth.
Break the chicken carcass into a few pieces and put them in a stockpot. Trim the roots and dark green parts of the scallions and add them to the pot; thinly slice the white and tender green parts and reserve them to garnish the soup. Add the ginger, carrot (if using), shiitake, and bacon. Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat from a rolling boil to a rollicking simmer, and skim any froth that collects on the surface during the first 10 minutes of simmering.
Cook until the liquid is reduced by one-third (to 8 cups), about 2 hours. Strain the broth. (That shiitake is probably pretty delicious and tender at this point so you can save and slice it and use it as a garnish on the finished dish, but scrap the rest.) The broth can be used immediately or refrigerated for up to 2 days.
To serve: Bring the broth to a strong simmer and cook the ramen noodles according to package directions. Drain the noodles very well, and portion them out among 4 deep soup bowls. Top with broth. Season each bowl with 2 teaspoons soy sauce, a portion of the reserved chicken meat, scallions, half an egg, and whatever else you’ve got. (See ideas on the following pages!) Eat immediately.