by Rich Malloy
It's winter and you have a freezer filled with venison. You’ve grilled it, thrown it into your insta-pot, meatloafed it and bacon wrapped it just to name a few. How about we expand and challenge ourselves in the kitchen this year and soup it? Enter; Venison Ramen.
Venison Ramen sounds more of a chore than it actually is. You already did the hard part by putting the venison in your freezer and if you’re a Hunt to Eat fanatic, I will assume you have venison stock handy. You’ll want to use some tenderloin or backstrap for this recipe. You can even use grind if you want.
Ramen (or udon) noodles
For the broth we want to use venison stock flavored with a tare (pronounced “tah-reh”). A tare is a condensed flavor bomb/liquid that gives ramen its oomf. It adds salt, heat, umami and is necessary to capturing that true ramen flavor. Theres no right way to make a tare and no two tares are the same.
*venison stock tip; add a pigs foot to your stock to unlock a wonderful rich flavor and mouth coating texture
In a small sauce pan add (assuming you’re using 1-2 quarts of stock)
1 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp white miso
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp mirin
1 tsp sambal (or sichuan peppercorns)
1 tsp fish sauce
knob of ginger
2-4 garlic cloves
chopped green onion
any dried mushrooms (dried anchovies work here too)
slowly reduce and bring these flavors together while you have your venison stock warming on another burner. After your tare has slightly reduced for 15 minutes or so, strain it and add directly into your venison stock. Keep warm.
Building your ramen/accoutrements
Building your ramen is kind of like a choose your own adventure book. Are we turning to page 40 or 15? What do you like? What do you have available? What looks fresh? I can list hundreds of veggies, additional proteins and crunchy textured foods to add in here. I’ll name a few I generally like to use just to get us going.
Ramen noodles- cook until done and add to your bowl
Soft boiled egg
dried kombu (seaweed)
I like to layer my ramen with noodles first, then the additional accoutrements/veggies and then I’ll add the ramen broth to my bowl and finish with the egg, sesame seeds and kombu for on top.
At this point slurp away, don’t leave anything behind!