Last week Edie complained of a sore throat. She otherwise seemed okay, so I chalked it up to allergies and told her to just drink some water. Tough kid that she is, she didn’t complain again. This weekend, Pat & I both woke up with sore throats which has since evolved into a cold that while isn’t horrible, it’s still kicking my butt. And yes, it is what she had. And yes, she did mention that she ‘sucked it up’ and we should too.
What goes around, definitely comes around.
Last night I decided we needed a nice, hot pot of soup to make ourselves feel better. Our family favorite when we are under the weather is miso soup. It’s quick and tasty and I always have on hand enough things to make a decent little pot of it. Now, I’m not talking miso soup like you get at any Asian restaurants, this is my homemade, stick to your ribs Americanized version that is inspired by several recipes I’ve read and tried over the years. I fill it full of everything they say has qualities to kick a cold and boost your immune system – garlic, ginger, chicken stock, miso and a kick of red pepper to help it slide down your throat. (If you’ve never added a dash of cayenne pepper to your chicken soup when you have a sore throat, I highly recommend it. It’s magical, I swear.)
There was also carrots for color (we like carrots in everything around here), chives (In lieu of scallions, since I have a ton of those in the garden right now), shitake mushrooms, spinach from the garden, tofu, shrimp and last but not least, I threw some rice vermicelli in to give it some heft.
To serve, I sprinkle it with more chives and red pepper. Yum. What I love about miso soup is that in addition to being versatile and quick, is that you can make a pot for one or a pot for 6 by just varying how much of your ingredients you use.
Becky’s Chock Full of Goodness Miso Soup
Saute several minced cloves of garlic, a healthy portion of grated ginger, chives (or scallions or a tiny bit of onion chopped very finely) and chopped carrots in sesame oil over low heat. When it becomes very fragrant and the carrots are soft, add sliced (shitake) mushrooms. (Regular button mushrooms work well too). When the mushrooms are slightly cooked, add chicken broth and bring to a boil. When boiling, add chopped tofu. Cook for at least 10 minutes, then stir in spinach, chopped shrimp and noodles. Using a ladle, pull out some broth and combine with miso paste (to taste). Combine the miso with the pot of soup, being careful to not simmer the miso. When the noodles are cooked, serve, sprinkled with chives and cayenne pepper.
Feel free to use as many or as little of the above as well as adding your own (chicken might be nice) ingredients, but never leave out the garlic or ginger. I also have a French Provincial inspired version that uses nothing but garlic, onions, potatoes, thyme and miso, sprinkled with cayenne. Make it as brothy as you desire. Miso soup rarely keeps well, so only make as much as you and your family will eat in one sitting. My rule of thumb is 1-2 cups of broth per person. This works as a perfect hot lunch for a kid home from school sick or as dinner when you’re all fighting something off.
This morning Edie told me that last night’s miso soup definitely made her feel better. Consider that your seal of approval.