Best of Both Worlds

Sous Chef Zac Hill of Union Ramen Bar puts a twist on a traditional Japanese staple using all-American staples like turkey and ham

About Sous Chef Zac Hill 

Born and raised in Fairhope, Alabama, by age 9, Zac Hill began cultivating his food hobby while cooking in his grandmother’s kitchen. Years later as a student at Tulane University, he entered the food scene through coffee, serving as a barista and a café manager. After a stint in a San Francisco kitchen, Hill returned to New Orleans and became inspired to reach beyond café fare and create full culinary experiences under the mentorship and guidance of Executive Chef Nate Nguyen of Union Ramen Bar. 

Turkey Paitan Ramen 


6 pounds turkey drumsticks 

3 pounds turkey wings 

2 pounds chicken paws 

3 ounces dried shiitake mushrooms 

1 pounds whole garlic, halved 

1 pounds ginger, sliced about ¼-inch thick 

3-4 leeks, dark green parts and roots removed, sliced lengthwise into quarters and washed 

5 tablespoons mirin 

2 tablespoons kosher salt 

1 piece of kombu, about an 8-inch by 8-inch in square

20 ounces dry noodles (2 ounces per serving) 

  1. Place turkey and chicken into an 18-quart or larger stock pot and add cold water until poultry is covered by two inches of water. 
  2. Place pot over high heat and bring to a rolling boil; once pot boils, reduce to an active simmer. Skim off impurities that rise to the top and stir at least every 15 minutes to prevent bottom from scorching. Add water as needed. 
  3. Continue to simmer until larger turkey bones can be pulled out and broken by hand without excessive effort (do not throw away any bones broken this way). This may take eight hours or more. if you have a large slow cooker or crockpot, you may transfer broth into that and cook at a lower temperature until bones are ready. 
  4. Once bones are soft enough, add dried shiitake mushrooms and vegetables and simmer for another 30 to 40 minutes. 
  5. Remove broth from heat and strain through a colander or mesh strainer. Pull out about one pound of large turkey bones from broth scraps and set aside. 
  6. Place saved turkey bones in a blender or food processor and cover with the now strained broth. Blend mixture, starting on low and working up to high. Blend on high for 1 minute. Strain bone and broth mixture back into remaining broth and discard any bone bits left behind.
  7. Ensure that you now have about five quarts of broth. If not, add water to total five quarts. Return broth to a simmer and add kosher salt and mirin. Simmer broth for 30 minutes. 
  8. Remove broth from heat and add kombu. Allow kombu to steep for 30 minutes and remove. 


1 cup soy sauce 

1 ½ cups mirin 

1 cup sake

 ½ cup sugar 

  1. Add all ingredients to a saucepan and bring to a boil. 
  2. Reduce heat to a low simmer and reduce liquid to 1 pint. 
  3. Place in a heat-safe container and allow to cool to room temperature. 


2-3 leeks, dark green parts and roots removed, thinly sliced and washed 

Eggs, as many as you and your guests like 

5-6 sheets of nori, thinly sliced into strips 

Honey-glazed ham seared in a skillet over medium heat just until the cut side of the ham begins to brown. Works well with leftovers ham from a holiday party!


  1. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. 
  2. Meanwhile, use a thumbtack or a needle to poke a hole in the middle of the fat side of each egg. 
  3. Once water boils, gently lower eggs into pot and set a timer for desired cook time. For large eggs, I prefer a 7-minute cooking time so whites are fully cooked and yolks are still jammy. 

Bowl Assembly 

  1. Bring both broth and a pot of water to a boil on the stove. 
  2. While waiting for broth and water to boil, set up bowls. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and one- to one-and-a-haf ounces of tare to each bowl. 
  3. Once broth boils, reduce to a simmer. Once water boils, cook noodles according to the instructions that came with them.
  4. When noodles are almost done cooking, add about 2 cups of broth to each bowl. Drain noodles, distribute among the bowls, and toss to mix the seasonings and broth. 
  5. Top each bowl as you like, or let your guests get crazy doing it themselves. 

Yields 10 servings.

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