In his new cookbook, Soul, James Beard Award-nominated chef Todd Richards shares his culinary journey by way of core ingredients like stone fruit, seafood, corn and, here, collard greens. The book's recipes range from traditional to riffed upon, like these noodles, which are an homage to a dish he remembers from a Chinese restaurant of his childhood.
Watch Todd Richards talk about the inspiration behind this dish:
Collard Green Ramen
Recipe adapted from 'Soul,' by Todd Richards
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours and 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours and 40 minutes
For the Collard Greens:
3 bunches (1½ to 2 pounds) collard greens, leaves removed and chopped, stems reserved to pickle
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 slices smoked bacon
2 small yellow onions, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 pound smoked ham hocks, room temperature
4 cups cold water
1 cup bourbon or whiskey
½ cup apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
For the Ramen:
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
11 quarts water, divided
4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
4 large eggs
12 ounces ramen noodles
¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
Collard greens with smoked ham hocks
8 scallions, thinly sliced
4 teaspoons black sesame seeds
Red pepper flakes (optional)
2 limes, each cut into 8 wedges or slices
One or two 2-ounce packages nori chips (seaweed snacks)
1. Make the collard greens: Cut the leaves into 2-inch squares and rinse in cold water. Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium heat and cook the bacon until crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and place on a paper towel-lined plate to cool.
2. Return the pot to medium heat. Cook the onions and garlic in the bacon drippings for 2 minutes, stirring often. Add the ham hocks and cook for 5 minutes, turning every 45 seconds or so. Add the water, bourbon and vinegar. Bring to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes.
3. Stir in a quarter of the collards. Repeat until all are added, and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the salt and pepper, and cook for up to 1 hour and 30 minutes, until the greens are tender. Remove from the heat, stir in the red pepper flakes and let stand 30 minutes. Remove the ham hocks and place with the bacon, and keep the potlikker.
4. Make the ramen: Bring the vinegar, 12 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of salt to a boil in a pot over high heat. Add the eggs, cover and boil for exactly 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, let stand for 5 minutes, peel and set aside. Discard the water.
5. Add the remaining water and 1 tablespoon of salt to the pot, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the noodles, stirring to ensure that they don't stick together. Boil for about 4 minutes, or until tender, and drain.
6. Put 1 tablespoon of soy sauce each in the bottom of 4 bowls. Divide the noodles evenly, add about 2 tablespoons of chopped ham hock meat and ¼ cup of collard greens to each. Ladle 1 to 1½ cups potlikker into each bowl.
7. Cut the eggs in half and arrange on the bowls. Top with bacon, pickled collard green stems, scallions, sesame seeds and red pepper flakes, if using. Serve with lime wedges and nori chips.
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