2deer shanks, or 3 to 4 pounds of similar shank meat
3tablespoonslard or peanut oil
6 to 8green onions, divided
6clovesgarlic, peeled and smashed
A 4-inch long piece of ginger, peeled and sliced thinly
4star anise pods(optional)
1heaping teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns(optional)
2 to 6dried hot chiles, broken and seeded
1cupShaoxing wine,or dry sherry
1/4cupChinese black bean sauce
1tablespoonsorghum syrup or dark honey(optional)
2poundsChinese wheat noodles(see Headnotes)
4baby bok choy heads, leaves separated
1 cupchopped pickled mustard greens(optional)
Submerge the shanks in water in a large soup pot. Bring this to a boil and let it roll for a couple minutes. Remove the shanks and toss the water. This process removes some of the scum that floats to the surface, and will make a cleaner tasting, clearer broth.
While you are waiting for this to happen, chop all your vegetables. Separate the white parts from the green parts of the green onions. Leave the white parts in large pieces, but finely chop the green parts.
Wipe the pot out and heat up the lard or oil over medium high heat. Sauté the white parts of the green onions, the garlic and ginger for about 1 minute. Add the star anise, Sichuan peppercorns and chiles and stir to combine. Return the shanks to the pot.
Pour in the Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, sorghum syrup (or honey) and bean sauce, then enough water to cover everything by about 1 inch. Bring this to a simmer, cover the pot and cook gently until the shanks are tender -- about 2 hours for beef, up to 4 hours for a very old deer or moose or elk or whatever.
When the shanks are tender, fish them out. While they are cooling, strain the broth. Pull the meat off the bones and cut it into largish chunks. Discard the bones and any weird, vein-y looking things. Wipe the pot again, then pour in the strained broth and add the shank meat to keep warm. Taste it for salt and add some if needed.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, then add the bok choy. Boil the bok choy for about 2 minutes, then remove. Add the noodles.
To serve, when the noodles are done, put some in everyone's bowls. Top with broth and meat, then add some bok choy, the green parts of the chopped green onions, cilantro, and pickled mustard greens. Some people like a bit more heat, so if you have Chinese chile sauce handy, have that at the table.