Thursday, March 1, 2012

Supplemented Cravings: Ghetto Ramen with Shredded Chicken and Poached Egg

I am going to confess something.

Before yesterday, I had never poached an egg in my entire life. Poached eggs were something you just had in restaurants, or had cooked to rubber in greasy spoons. I had visions of beautiful eggs being lowered to their deaths in vats of steaming, murky water rank with vinegar.

Scary, baby. Just SCARY.

ANYWAY. Yesterday was one of those dreary, rain soaked days where if you're at home, you're lucky to be there. I was also lucky enough to have nothing to do all day, and when I'm bored, I get very hungry. I started to think about how long it had been since I had any delicious ramen in my life. Springy noodles, rich, meat-laden broth, and the best part: a single slow boiled/poached egg laid lovingly upon the top. Then, when you poke the surface of that soft egg, the golden yolk mixes itself with the broth and it gets all creamy and savory....then, I decided to stop thinking about it, because I was exciting myself.

Instead of lamenting about my lack of food, I decided to investigate my pantry. Behold! A pack of cheap chicken flavor ramen! Just waiting for me to class it up a bit. I knew I had some leftover brown stew chicken in the fridge that was sitting in its own juices and gravy, just waiting to be shredded. And I had plenty of eggs...if I could muster up the courage to poach one.

Now, I know y'all are looking for a step by step on this one....but Serious Eats already covered it. They have an awesome and extremely easy tutorial on poached eggs on their site. Honestly, I just followed it to the letter.

Basically, you're just simmering a raw egg in a couple of inches of water that has a dash of vinegar and a bit of salt. You want to use really fresh eggs, because the fresher they are, the more stable the whites will be. My eggs weren't super old, but not as fresh as would be ideal. I think the vinegar helped to tighten them up. Easy way to tell if your eggs are past their prime? Crack the egg into a small bowl and a look at the egg white. Does it look a little watery? If it does, you're dealing with an older egg. Fresh eggs have firm whites (or albumens), and their yolks are bright yellow and perky.

My first egg came out great except for the fact that I should have put an inch or two more water in the pan. I toasted up a slice of grainy wheat bread and decided to eat that one, then try again. I schmeared some bacon fat on the bread, and plenty of salt and pepper too. Just marvelous! The yolk was nice and runny, and the whites were so tender. The second time, I aced it. I set the poached beauty on a paper towel lined plate so it could drain and prepared the ramen according to the package's instructions.

When the noodles were ready, I poured them and the hot water into a warmed bowl, added half the seasoning packet (that stuff is SALTY), and then threw in the chicken to warm up and give off its flavor. Ever so carefully, I used a slotted spoon to take the poached egg off of the towel and laid it gently upon the broth. The sight brought a tear to my eye.

And then I remembered that I was starving, so I stabbed the egg with my fork so the yolk could run and flavor the broth. Oh, so good. Obviously not the kind that I could get at a restaurant, but who cares! This was quick, easy, and soothing to my soul.

I got to learn something new, AND I got rewarded for doing it. Talk about positive reinforcement.

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