I am addicted to pasta. Spaghetti, macaroni, spaetzle, rice, udon, egg…it doesn’t matter. If it’s a pasta, I love it, and with good reason. As a working mom with a blog and a busy schedule, pasta is a convenient and simple base for a meal. Its versatility and endless possibilities means that there are very few weeks when pasta doesn’t make it on our dinner table. In fact, we’re having pasta for dinner tonight!
However, as much as I love all things pasta, it wasn’t until my adult life, when I ventured out into the world, that I discovered Asian noodles, but once I did, it only added to my addiction. These days, as I’ve grown as a chef, I love experimenting and cooking Asian inspired recipes with a little Southern flair thrown in for good measure.
Southern and Asian? Absolutely! and why not? Both are food cultures experienced in taking less than prime cuts of meat, fresh vegetables, and local influences and creating phenomenal meals. So, when I took the Fortune Asian Noodle Blogger Challenge to create a soup recipe using Fortune Udon noodles, I knew exactly what to do.
**You can purchase JSL Food Products, like Fortune Asian Noodles, at Albertson’s & Target.
The final result is a soup rich in Southern tradition, even though it looks quite Asian…a Southern Fusion Udon Noodle Soup featuring brown sugar-bourbon braised pork belly, fresh collard greens, green onions, and a rich mushroom-soy broth.
2 lbs. pork belly-skin removed
2 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. bourbon
1/4 c. water
1 (7.27 oz) pkg. Fortune Udon Noodles-mushroom flavor
1 c. water
2 TBSP soy sauce
2 c. fresh collard greens-stems removed & cut into 1″ wide pieces
1/4 c. fresh green onions-white & green parts chopped
Rinse pork belly and pat dry with a paper towel. With a sharp knife, score the fat side in 1″ wide diagonal cuts. In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, garlic, and brown sugar. Rub the seasoning mix over both sides of the pork belly. Pour bourbon and water (1/4 c.) in the bottom of an electric pressure cooker or “Instapot”. Place pork belly in pressure cooker. If pork belly needs to be cut in order to fit, do so. Set electric pressure cooker to cook for 30 minutes once it pressurizes. If using a traditional pressure cooker, follow the same procedure, but time the pork belly once the pressure valve pops up.
While pork belly cooks, prep vegetables. When pork belly has finished cooking and is fork tender, remove it from the pressure cooker and place on a cookie sheet, but do not discard cooking liquid. Place pork belly under a broiler for 5 minutes, to crisp the fatty layer. When lightly browned and crisp, remove from broiler and allow to cool some before slicing.
In a 2-3 quart sauce pot, combine water (1c), 1 1/3 c. cooking liquid from pressure cooker, soy sauce, and mushroom flavor packet from Udon noodles. Bring to a boil, stir in collard greens, reduce heat to medium, and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, stir in udon noodles and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
To serve, place noodle portions in a boil and top with 2 slices of pork belly. Ladle broth over the pork belly and top with chopped onions.