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Jurassic Pork Soup

 From the Chrono Trigger video game

I just can't resist a Jurassic Park pun, even if it only exists because of censorship. So, I recently did a bit of a nostalgia play of Chrono Trigger, a classic game with a killer soundtrack that's considered by many to be one of the best video RPGs of all time. At some point in the game, Crono and Marle attend a feast in Ioka village. At the feast, you can challenge the leader, Ayla, to a soup eating contest. In the original Japnese version of the game, the soup was actually an alcoholic drink but the dialogue was changed to turn the cocktail into soup in the English translation, because what about the children. Why do I know this? Because I stumbled on this info while researching cocktails for my upcoming cocktail book, Geeky Chef Drinks! It's going to be so great, guys, I'm super proud of it. But back to the soup! You can also eat a big bowl of poi in this part of the game, so I stuck to a Hawaiian theme. Saimin is the Hawaiian version of ramen (with other Asian influences). There are a ton of saiman eating contests, so this seemed super appropriate. This is a take on pork saimin complimented by a "dinosaur egg" topping.

Ingredients:
1lb Pork Shoulder
Salt and Pepper (to taste)
1 cup Char Siu Sauce (pre-made or using this recipe)
1 Yellow Onion, chopped
4 cloves of Garlic, minced
1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
2.5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 leek, halved lengthwise and coarsely chopped
1 cup Baby Bok Choy
1/2 cup Cremini Mushrooms, brushed clean and coarsely chopped
Low-sodium soy sauce, for seasoning
Sesame and/or chile oil, for seasoning
3/4 lb fresh Saiman or Ramen noodles
 2 large Eggs, medium-boiled
1 Green Onion, chopped

Suggested Extra Toppings:
Togarashi
Sliced Boiled Fish Cakes
Furikake
Chili Oil
Bean Sprouts
Nori Sheets

 Directions:
1) Season the pork with salt and pepper and place in a large plastic bag with 3/4 cups of char siu sauce. Let marinate for a couple hours.2) Pre-heat oven to 400 degree F
3) Place the pork piece on grill and with a layered baking tray on middle rack and bake for 10 minutes.
4) Remove the pork and brush with remaining sauce. Roast on middle track for another 10 minutes, then move the grill to up to the top rack and roast for another couple of minutes. Transfer out and let rest for 3-4 minutes, then cut the pork into slices and set aside.
4) In a frying pan, add the yellow onion and sear, without stirring, until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, ginger, and a cup of the broth.
5) Deglaze the pan, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the insert bottom, then let simmer for a couple minutes
6) Transfer the contents of the pan to a dutch oven, add the leek, mushrooms, bok choy, and the remaining broth. Stir to combine.
7) Cover and simmer over low heat on the stove for about 30 minutes or until the bok choy is softened and flavors are mingled.
8) Season the broth to taste with soy sauce and sesame and/or chile oil. Continue to simmer for another 10 minutes
9) Cook the noodles according to the package directions.

10) Divide the noodles evenly among individual bowls, then ladle the broth over the noodles, dividing evenly.
11) Arrange the pork slices on top of the noodles and sprinkle with the green onions and top each with two egg halves.
12) Add any additional toppings you like (suggestions above) and serve with a huge side of poi (if you want).

Serves 2-4

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