Miso soups have become a staple of our winter diet. The miso blends well with vegetables to create a rich broth of heart-warming properties. There is nothing as satisfying as coming home on a winter day into a house filled with the rich fragrance of a miso soup a-boil on the stove. My kids love these soups and I usually try and double the recipes so that we get a repeat soup the next day. I sometimes mix a couple of tablespoons of miso into 2 cups of hot water to stretch the soup the next day, because they seem to condense overnight.
I have several ways I prepare Miso – this is one of the most complex and rich versions. It can serve as a complete meal with the addition of noodles. It is based on the Chickpea Noodle Soup recipe from p. 139 of Veganomicon, but, like many recipes that begin in a cookbook, is my own adaptation though very close to the original.
2 Tablespoons olive oil
one leek (substitute an onion if you don’t have leeks)
2 -3 cloves of garlic
two thinly sliced carrots
2 cups of cremini mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon each of thyme, celery seed, black pepper and rosemary (adjust to taste)
2 Tablespoons mirin (rice wine) – I’ve substituted red wine on occasion
1/2 cup of miso to start with – add more according to your taste (I do)
6 cups of water or vegetable stock
2 cups cooked dried chickpeas, or one 15 oz. can
parsley for garnish
Saute the leeks and garlic and carrots until soft, then add the mushrooms and spices. When the mushrooms start to transform, add the miso, wine, stock and let simmer together for about 15 minutes. Then add the chickpeas. Garnish each portion with parsley.
The Veganomicon recipe includes the addition of soba noodles making this a very filling soup and good for a one bowl meal. I left them out because I had a large meal planned to follow the soup. Also – once the soba noodles are in the soup, the soup will not store well as the noodles will disintegrate overnight and you’ll be left with a mushy bowl of soup parts. When I do use japanese noodles I keep them separate from the soup and add them to each portion as I serve. Then I store the leftover soup and the noodles separately as well.