What’s in My Crock-Pot?

ramen soup broth with shitakes, cabbage, garlic and ginger
ramen soup broth with shitakes, cabbage, garlic and ginger

If you get home from work at 6:3opm, it’s a given that the kids will be ravenous. That means dinner needs to made FAST. The solution: Crock-Pot Cheaterpants Ramen Noodle Soup. This is my totally inauthentic version of ramen noodle soup. Real ramen noodle soup is made with glorious broth in which chicken, beef or pork bones have been simmered with secret aromatic spices for a gazillion hours. My Crock-Pot Cheaterpants Ramen Noodle Soup is made with this stuff:

ramen noodle soup broth ingredients
ramen noodle soup broth ingredients

I love Better Than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base, because you always need chicken broth but you don’t always have a chicken carcass hanging out in the fridge. Dried shitake mushrooms and soy sauce will add some serious umami to the broth. Did I just same “umami”? Damn straight I did. Ramen noodle soup has gotta have umami. A few shakes of toasted sesame oil before serving the soup will add richness and will approximate some of the glistening fattiness you’d get with a good meat stock. Did I just say “glistening fattiness”?

Crock-Pot Cheaterpants Ramen Noodle Soup
Soup Broth
  • 8 cups water
  • 7 teaspoons chicken base or cubes of bouillon
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • crushed garlic, lots
  • minced or grated ginger, lots
  • big handful of rinsed dried shitake mushrooms
  • about a cup of shredded cabbage (optional)

Ramen Noodle Soup Add-ins
  • boiled ramen noodles
  • sliced spinach, kale or bok choy
  • sliced scallions
  • shredded carrots
  • sliced sugar snap or snow peas
  • wakame seaweed, soaked and rinsed
  • some sort of protein: tofu cubes, edamame, thinly sliced pork roast, grilled chicken, etc.
  • fried eggs or not-too hard boiled eggs
  • white or yellow miso to taste
  • roasted sesame oil
  • Sriracha

Throw your broth ingredients into the Crock-Pot. Cook on low all day or on high for 3–4 hours. When you are ready to serve the soup, start a pot of water to boil the ramen noodles. Slice up your veggies and throw them into the Crock-Pot; they will get heated through, but will still be nice and crisp. If you want to make miso ramen, add in a few tablespoons of miso paste (go easy, as miso is very salty) to the broth and stir it in well. If you’re feeling ambitious, quickly fry some eggs (I like sunny side up with nice, runny yolks). When the noodles are boiled, drain and put a nice pile of noodles in the serving bowls. Place your protein of choice on top of the noodles. Spoon on the warm broth, slide your fried eggs on top and shake on a little sesame oil and Sriracha if you like some heat. If you work fast, dinner will be on the table in 15 minutes and you’ll feel like a ramen rock star.

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