Ramen is one of my comfort foods. Whether homemade, from a restaurant, or straight out of a styrofoam cup, the chewy noodles, warm broth, and a combination of toppings dictated by what’s in the fridge are as emotionally satisfying as they are calorically.
I’ll admit, I have a love for cheap bouillon-based instant ramen, probably for the high sodium content. But whenever I make my own ramen noodles, I make it a point to whip up a batch of deeply savory ramen broth to pair with it.
You can make ramen soup with just about anything. At its core, it’s a broth seasoned with whatever you like. There are many defined styles of ramen, but this venison ramen is not one of those. This is just how I like to make it.
The bones of this soup broth are smoked venison. I season and smoke venison for the added flavor. Any bone-in cut will work, the more connective tissue, the better. Neck, shanks, and shoulders are ideal. The more bones you use, the richer the broth will be. Smoked turkey legs or goose legs work great as well.
The other key ingredient to ramen broth is kombu, which is a dried kelp. Kombu adds umami and body to the broth. You can find dried kombu sheets at Asian supermarkets, online, and in most well-stocked grocery stores.
The remaining ingredients season the broth and build flavor. Dried shiitake mushrooms add earthiness and umami to the broth, and they can be sliced and added to the final dish. I use soy sauce, a little bit of dashi powder, and a splash of fish sauce for the final touches.
To top off the ramen, I use the braised meat from the venison shank, pulling the meat off the bone when it is tender, but before it is over-braised. The rest of the toppings are up to you. To learn how to make homemade ramen noodles, click here.
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