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Categories: Mains, Soups

Kakuni udon

Kakuni udon
Los Angeles Times

The small, high-ceilinged dining room at Beacon has the unmistakable buzz of the restaurant of the moment. The staff is in constant motion, delivering little plates piled with skewers of grilled chicken dabbed with sour umeboshi paste and strewn with ... Read more

Total time: 3 hours, 20 minutes | Serves 8
Note: From Kazuto Matsusaka and Vicki Fan of Beacon restaurant.

Udon dashi (broth)

  • 1/3 piece kombu (3-by-1 3/4 -inch piece)
  • 1 3/4 quarts water
  • 1 ounce (about 5 1/3 cups large flakes) dried bonito flakes
  • 1 cup Usukuchi-style soy sauce
  • 2 cups mirin

Step 1Bring the kombu and water to a boil and cook 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the bonito flakes. Let sit until the bonito flakes sink to the bottom of the liquid, about 20 minutes. Strain and discard the flakes.

Step 2Add the soy sauce and mirin to the broth and return to a boil. Remove from the heat and cool until ready to use. The broth can be prepared several hours in advance. Makes 8 cups.

Braised pork belly

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 (4-pound) pork belly
  • 1 bunch green onions, cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 2 ounces ginger, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 stalk celery, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup plum wine
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 cups soy sauce
  • 1 cup mirin
  • 2 1/2 quarts water
  • 5 pieces star anise

Step 1In a large braising pan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Brown the pork belly on the skin side. Turn the belly over and brown the other side; this will take about 20 minutes in all. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.

Step 2Add the green onions, ginger, carrot and celery and cook until lightly brown, about 3 minutes. Add the wines; reduce by half.

Step 3Add the soy sauce, mirin, water and star anise. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Step 4Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Return the meat to the braising liquid and cover the pan with a sheet of parchment paper or foil. Cover tightly with a lid, place in the oven and cook until the meat is fork tender, about 2 1/2 hours.

Step 5Remove the pan from the oven and let stand until ready to serve.The pork belly can be prepared in advance and kept for several days in the refrigerator, covered in the braising liquid.

Udon and assembly

  • 8 baby bok choy, quartered
  • 1 recipe udon dashi
  • 1 cup sliced bamboo shoots
  • 4 pounds frozen udon
  • 1 recipe braised pork belly
  • 2 tablespoons sliced green onions

Step 1Cook the bok choy in a large pot of rapidly boiling water until barely tender and still a little crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the bok choy (reserve the water) and place it in a bowl of ice water. Can be done up to 3 hours ahead.

Step 2Just before serving, heat the udon dashi and warm the baby bok choy and bamboo shoots in it.

Step 3Cook the udon according to package directions in the same pot of boiling water used for the bok choy.

Step 4Divide the udon among 8 large, deep serving bowls. Cut the pork belly into 8 servings and place on top of the udon. Pour about one-fourth cup of braising liquid over each serving. Arrange the bok choy and bamboo shoots around the outside of the pork and add 1 cup of the udon dashi. Garnish with green onions and serve.

Each serving:
1,073 calories; 33 grams protein; 70 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 65 grams fat; 23 grams saturated fat; 122 mg. cholesterol; 2,713 mg. sodium.
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