Rachel's Table

Snow Day Ramen Noodle and Turkey Dumpling Soup

Curious cats

As a child growing up in snowy New England, I reveled in sledding, snow ball fights, and snow angels. But the best part of snow days was coming in from the cold, peeling off the eighteen layers of tights, sweatpants, t-shirts, sweaters and socks from underneath my enormous, one-piece snow suit, and defrosting with a hot bowl of soup. The soup preceded hot chocolate from a packet–the kind with the teeny tiny dehydrated marshmallows that puffed up and felt slippery on the tongue when mixed with hot water or milk.  The marshmallow-y hot chocolate warmed my bones as I coerced my mother into playing no fewer than ten games of Skip-Bo and twelve games of Uno. (My mother was…still is…a saint.)

As a grown up, a snow day is a rare thing. But it still holds magic. Sure, there are emails to reply to, work to be finished, but doing these normal, everyday things with the bright whiteness of snow swirling in the air just on the other side of the window, brings a bit of excitement to the day. Friday, I had a legitimate snow day. I woke up, checked my texts for those magical words, “The offices are closed today.”

After a few hours of work, I shoveled my very short walkway and breathed the frigid, white-cold air. When I came inside, I wanted something to warm my bones, but seeing as this snow day was unexpected and my mother wasn’t around, my cupboards were quite literally bare. Lucky for me, my husband bought four cellophane-wrapped packages of Ramen noodles at the grocery store last week. (You know the kind, and for the record, I protested the whole business.)

Little bricks of sodium and MSG. Mmmmmmm.

Little bricks of sodium and MSG. Mmmmmmm.

So here I am, snowed in with nothing to eat but crunchy Ramen noodles and local turkey sausages. But with the addition a few simple ingredients like beef broth, mushrooms, carrots, and onions, the Ramen turned into a richly flavored, perfectly pleasing one-pot meal.

Instead of hot chocolate, I think my soup will be followed by a nice glass of wine; I am a grown-up after all. But I wonder if Mr. Rache wants to play Uno….

Snow Day Ramen Noodle and Sausage Dumpling Soup

Cook’s note: This soup lists a lot of ingredients but requires very little time to prep and cook. The broth has that lovely umami flavor due to the mushrooms, beef broth, and soy sauce. Most importantly, it’ll warm your bones on a snow day.

For the Dumplings:

1 pound mild Italian turkey sausages, removed from their casings (you could use pork or chicken sausages as well)

1 teaspoon garlic chili sauce

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 small red onion, grated

For the Soup:

1 red onion, diced (large dice)

3 gloves garlic, minced

1 16 ounce package baby bella mushrooms, sliced (or whatever mushrooms you have around)

2 carrots, peeled and diced (large dice)

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ancho chili powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 quart beef broth

2 cups water

2 bricks Ramen noodles (throw the flavor packet away!!!)

Cilantro, for garnish

Make the dumplings: Once the sausage is removed from the casings, place in a medium bowl. Add the chili sauce, ginger, curry, and red onion. Using your hands, mix well (like you’re making meatloaf). Form into 18 round “dumplings.”  In a large soup pot, brown the dumplings over medium high heat on all sides. Once browned, remove from the pot and set aside.

Before

Before

After

After

Make the soup: In that same soup pot, add the onions and cook for two minutes. Add the mushrooms, garlic and two pinches of salt. The mushrooms should release a lot of liquid, allowing you to scrape all the meaty goodness the dumplings left in the pot, which will add another layer of flavor to the soup. Once the mushrooms have cooked down (about four to five minutes), add the carrots, ginger, ancho chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, and brown sugar. Stir to combine and cook for one minute. Add the soy sauce, the beef broth, and water. Bring to a boil, then add the two bricks of Ramen. Simmer until the noodles are cooked through, about 3 minutes.

Ladle into a large bowl and garnish with cilantro (or better yet, bean sprouts, if you have them).

Better than the Ramen you ate in college, I promise

Better than the Ramen you ate in college, I promise

Can't you just taste that umami flavor? No seasoning packet necessary!

Can’t you just taste that umami flavor? No seasoning packet necessary!

What’s your favorite childhood snow day memory? Or how do you spend snow days with your own children? Oh, and ‘fess up, when was the last time you ate Ramen noodles?

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34 comments

  1. Happy New Year, Rachel! I keep reading about the incredible snow in the US, and here it is sunny and warm; my boyfriend and I even had a coffee on the terrace of a café today, it was that warm. Your soup sounds lovely though, and I would gladly have it on any day. But the snow definitely makes it special. I can almost smell it from overseas…

    • Ah, my balcony is covered in frozen snow, Darya, so no coffee outside for me. But be sure to enjoy the weather over there for both of us!

      This soup really is good for any day. It hit my cravings for something warming and savory just perfectly.

      Happy New Year!

  2. I have no snow day memories.

    Well done on the ramen. I’ve been on a ramen kick lately, although I’ve been doing the fancy Tokyo-style ramen with homemade stock and flavorings, fresh noodles, etc. My friend Greg got me a book called “Ivan Ramen” about a New York jew who opened a ramen shop in Tokyo. And there are several of these new artisan ramen places in L.A. It’s a ramen zeitgeist! Watch for a post soon…

      • Yeah, it’s one of those things where because of its simplicity, the components have to be really good. I get fresh noodles at the Japanese market, use fresh stock and some heirloom lard, a half cooked egg, etc. But I actually also like the dried kind, flavor packet and all! (It’s sort of comforting in an MSG-ish kinda way.)

        I don’t know that show, I’ll have to check it out.

      • I think that’s what’s so great about this recipe – it tasted very similar to the flavor packet!

        There’s a whole episode devoted to David Chang’s love of Ramen. He even eats a raw brick of it. Ew.

      • David Chang wrote the foreword to this ramen book I got — basically telling him how he was destined to fail in NYC because Americans don’t understand ramen. LOL

  3. Ooh, Julia LOVES Ramen. She just sucked down a bowl for lunch. I loved this post, RP. Your words are always so vivid and soothing. And I’m drooling over your recipe. Remind me to never attempt to cook for you. ;)

    • Thanks, D!

      I love Ramen, too! And somehow, this soup tasted so similar to the conventional, flavoring packet kind. There’s just something so comforting about a big bowl of salty noodles!

      You can cook for me ANYTIME, D! I’d eat anything you put in front of me.

  4. Ramen noodles! What great fast food to have in the pantry. We buy them by the 12-pack, but of course, there are six of us. Like any noodle, they keep well, are inexpensive (a dime per brick), and make a great addition to many dishes — not just soups. They’re soft enough that if you sautee a brick (broken up) with slivered nuts, together they add a great crunch to coleslaws or other fresh salads.

    Our own “Not-chicken noodle soup” is much like your own up there. Just chop up a bunch of veggies, boil in broth, add some dry seasonings, and finally the Ramen noodles just until cooked. Ladle the boiling hot “stew” right on top of a full bowl of fresh spinach (they’ll wilt right down), add a tablespoon of white miso from the fridge — VOILA. Tasty warm lunch a 7-yr-old can make…and in only a few minutes to boot. Kids enjoy crunching up the brick while it’s still in the packet; always a challenge not to explode the wrapper.

    We also throw away the season packet. God knows what is in that tasty (nasty?) powder.

    • I’ve had Ramen crunched up in a salad with romaine, almonds, manderin oranges and a some kind of delicious soy dressing. They really add something fun and tasty to soups – especially for kids.

      Mr. Rache ate a pack raw the other day – right from the package. Oy.

  5. Ooh, remind me to get snowed in with you! And you just brought back so many memories with that Skip-Bo reference.

    Did I mention Magical Neighbor Jeff brought more food last night?! Hot and sour soup – this reminded me of it. You have GOT to lock in that guest post.

    • Thanks, Peg! When it snows around here, people go into panic mode. It’s pandemonium. No bread, no milk, no eggs. I like to make due with what I have on hand rather than brave the grocery store.

  6. Oh my goodness now I want soup and there is currently a heatwave in Brisbane… I have never actually seen snow, let alone had a snow day. I have also never had packet ramen. Is that strange? I have had ramen from a Japanese takeaway and have made noodles at home but never the brick kind with seasoning sachets. I love that you created your own soup broth – I have a jar of soup paste from an Asian grocery I normally add in to mine. YUM!

    • I have never tried soup paste but I think I’m going to buy some – seems like an easy but delicious way to spice up soup.

      Snow is overrated, but it IS beautiful when you’re warm inside eating noodles.

      PS – I love that you said “sachets”

  7. Who new ramen could be so elevated?! This was totally like a Top Chef challenge and, if I was Padma, I would absolutely declare you the winner and had you the keys to whichever Kia or Toyota they were shamelessly plugging this season.

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