Ramen-Style Noodles in Pig Trotter Broth

I bought two big pig trotters at a farmer’s market, then let them sit in the freezer for a while because I didn’t know what to do with them. This is a more time-consuming recipe than chicken broth because of all the extra steps (roasting, cooling to skim off fat), but it’s very good. The pork broth makes for a nice, gelatinous ramen-style broth.

  • 1 pig trotter
  • 1/2 pound pork stir-fry meat (optional), finely sliced
  • 5-6 shiitakes, soaked in boiling water until soft
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 head of Napa cabbage
  • 2 bundles of udon noodles
  • soy sauce to taste

Roast the pig trotter in the oven at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes per side. More is probably better, but I still haven’t figured out what’s optimal. Any temperature between 400 and 450 and any time range between 20 minutes and a full hour probably works – more is better, but the perfect shouldn’t undercut the very good.

Put the pig trotter in the Instant Pot with a bay leaf, 2/3 tbsp salt, and water between the halfway and 2/3 of the way up the pot. A splash of cider vinegar too, if you remember (it’s supposed to help pull minerals out of the bones). Cook on high pressure for 2 hours.

Remove bones, pull off and reserve meat (there won’t be much, but it will be very tender). Let cool in refrigerator and skim off fat. This removes most of the gamey odor, which I personally am not a fan of.

Make the rest of the soup the stovetop. Stir-fry the onion and carrots on the bottom of a large pot. Add the shiitakes and broth. When the broth is boiling, add the stir-fry pork. Cook for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the stir-fry pork is done. Add the reserved meat from the broth and the noodles and cook until the noodles are done. If desired, add a small amount of soy sauce, to taste.

I added the extra stir-fry pork mainly for Nora’s benefit. She enjoyed the broth and was willing to eat the veggies and noodles, but only if there was a little bit of meat on the spoon.

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Pork Meatloaf

I’m very impressed. My mom made pork meatloaf last week using Mark Bittman’s recipe (below), with 2lb pork, a giant onion instead of a small one, a giant carrot instead of a small one, and some extra greens. For spices, she used 1.5 tbsp soy sauce, 1/2 tsp cumin, salt, and pepper. She sauteed the vegetables very briefly.

It tasted like baozi filling and was nice and soft. Nora and her cousins all loved it. The quality of the pork, which she got from a meat market near my house, probably made a huge difference.

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