Welcome back to Chef in the Kitchen, a recurring Eater photo feature where we boldly go where few diners have gone before — into Portland restaurant kitchens — to get a sneak peek of the chef du jour hard at work.
Jeff McCarthy, the in-house chef at downtown's culinary incubator KitchenCru, has been known to take a few risks. After his TenTop supperclub served up an all-offal dinner during its last installment, McCarthy's taking on the idea of unlikely food fusions for the next go-around — leading to a dish dubbed the McRamen, which combines a traditional corned beef broth with David Chang's noodle recipe, "straight out of his Lucky Peach magazine," McCarthy says... "This dish was meant to be the bastard child of corned beef and cabbage and ramen." Because why the hell not.
For the broth, McCarthy first brined a beef brisket over the course of five days, then braised it in the oven. After straining the broth (and augmenting it "with a simple beef stock made from cow necks bones"), konbu and ground dried shiitake mushrooms were steeped in, and the whole mixture reduced. "The traditional seasoning for ramen broth comes from what's called tare, a rich syrupy stuff made from chicken backs, soy, mirin, sake, and bacon," McCarthy says. "We tweaked this by using hanger steak instead of the chicken backs, and smoked ham hock along with the bacon. The tare is blended into the broth right before it hits the bowl."
The whole bastardized bowl is then topped with baby carrots, roasted fingerling potatoes, raw shredded cabbage, pickled mushrooms, and in another mash-up with the British Isles, a soft-boiled egg that's been breaded and fried.
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