By Mike Thayer
Yes, Ramen is a budget meal, but it certainly doesn't have to taste like one.
Today's Ramen hack is all about tender chunks of pork to enjoy with those noodles. The beauty of this recipe is that you don't need the seasoning packet, which has A LOT of sodium. I don't use those packets in the preparation of Ramen anymore, preferring instead to use low sodium beef, chicken or vegetable stocks, or to do what I've done here with this recipe. All the flavor you need comes from the leftover pork and sour cream. I prefer baked pork chops for this, which were simply seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, Parmesan cheese and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 4-6 ounces of leftover pork chops, sliced or cubed, it really doesn't matter as long as the pieces are all about the same size.
- 1 package of Ramen noodles (the flavor doesn't really matter, but do NOT use the flavor packet, save it for another purpose, another day)
- 2 cups water
- 2 heaping Tablespoons of sour cream
- 4 ounces of mushrooms (optional)
In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, warm up the olive oil. Throw the pork into the hot pan to warm it up a bit and allow the spices on the pork to marry up with the olive oil. Let the pork warm through for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Smash up the Ramen noodles (optional), I like to smash mine up because although eating them at regular chop sticks is fun, I like to dig into this particular Ramen with a spoon. Toss in the noodles, then add 2 cups of water. Stir to incorporate. Dump in the sour cream, stir to incorporate, cook for 3 minutes. When that timer goes off, give things another quick stir, turn off the heat and let the noodles and pork sit for another 3 minutes. This allows the noodles to fully absorb the seasoning and Parmesan cheese from the meat and that sour cream, which turns into a sauce. Garnish with chopped green onion and you've got yourself a nice bowl of Ramen comfort food!
Alternate uses for the seasoning packet... These things just pack too much sodium. One packet contains 1520mg of sodium, that's 66% of the daily recommended intake in one meal... No thanks. I save these for another day and typically use them in soups, to supplement whatever flavor I'm cooking up in a big batch. I'll use a beef packet in a big batch of chili or beef barley soup. I'll use a chicken packet to supplement a batch of chicken noodle soup. Basically, any recipe that calls for beef, chicken or fish stock, whatever, replace that with a seasoning packet and water. The key though is going big, a batch of something. Chili that serves eight people for example, spreads that 1520mg of sodium down to 190mg per serving, well within the recommended daily intake and you're not sacrificing on flavor with this repurpose. Making gravy is another good repurpose, but remember, multiple servings is key.
$pend Wisely My Friends...
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