Can one blame a prolonged blog hibernation on a puppy? Probably not, but I will try anyway. A tiny furball of craziness came into our lives 9 months ago, and it's been a whirlwind ever since. House-training a puppy on the sidewalks of nyc, without the benefit of a backyard, has been interesting, to say the least. Quite an experience. Some people love the puppy stage, but I'm relieved that our little guy just turned one and is (just about) a real dog. He's not quite full grown yet, so the vet says he gets to keep his balls for another 3 months (Jammer says yay!).
Well -- excuses aside, let's talk about the soup pictured up top. This steaming bowl of yumminess is your immune system's best friend. With all the bugs going around during the winter and early spring, I made this on the regular. Along with daily herbal infusions and doses of a most potent echinacea tincture, I managed to stay healthy despite getting coughed, sneezed, and sputtered upon at work, on the subway, and in line at Fairway. I love this soup for breakfast, lunch, or dinner -- you could also simmer up a big pot and eat it for all three meals for a day or two: a superfood miso soup "cleanse," if you will.
Back in December I ordered a pound of whole, dried shiitake mushrooms from an herb supplier. Sounded reasonable enough at the time, but apparently my powers of estimation were off that day. Because a pound of dried mushrooms is A LOT of mushrooms. Turned out to be fortuitous, though, as that 'shroom overload has inspired many pots of delicious soups, stews and broths over the last few months. Throwing a handful of these umami-bombs into any veggie-based broth changes everything.
In a nutshell, this soup's got it all: probiotic-packed miso, immunity-boosting shiitakes, burdock, and astragalus root, iodine- and calcium-rich wakame, and of course garlic and ginger. Health in a bowl. With at least a few more chilly days headed our way this spring, it's a good recipe to have on hand. Play with it and make it yours.
Aduki Miso Soup with Wakame + Shiitakes
Aduki miso has become my favorite miso paste - so richly flavored and complex, it really is a "meaty" alternative to a meat-based broth. Chickpea miso also works well here.
Yield: approx. 2 quarts
Total time: 1 hour
Small handful dried burdock root (about 2 tablespoons)
5-6 slices dried astragalus root
6 cups water
8 dried shiitake mushrooms (or 1/2 cup dried, sliced shiitakes)
Small piece of dried kombu (about 1-inch square)
1/4 cup brown rice
Shoyu or tamari, to taste
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced (about 1-1/2 cups)
1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 shallot or small onion, thinly sliced
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
2 tablespoons dried wakame
1/4 cup aduki miso paste (or miso of your choice)
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Sesame seeds or gomasio, to finish
cheesecloth + kitchen twine, or a bouquet garni bag
Combine burdock root and asparagus in cheesecloth or bouquet garni bag. Transfer to a large pot and add shiitakes, kombu, brown rice. Cover with water and add a splash of shoyu or tamari. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove shiitakes from pot, slice caps thinly and return to pot. Discard tough stems or save for making stock.
Add sweet potato, garlic, shallot and ginger to the pot. Simmer, covered, until sweet potato and brown rice are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
Place wakame in a bowl and cover with 1 cup of water. Soak until rehydrated, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain (house plants love the soaking liquid). Add wakame to soup and simmer 5 minutes more.
Take pot off the heat. Remove bouquet garni and squeeze to get all the good stuff from the burdock and astragalus. Discard.
Ladle 1 cup of broth into a separate bowl; whisk in miso paste until dissolved. Add miso broth back to the soup pot. Season with lemon juice to taste. Ladle into bowls and garnish with sesame seeds or gomasio.
To reheat leftover soup, heat gently over a low flame until the soup just reaches a simmer (avoid boiling miso).