Monday, December 10, 2007

10.12.07: Miso & Celeriac, Roots & Kale

This was the third variation on the winter Miso soup I've been developing, with chunky root veggies and shredded greens. The first, on 17.10.07, was thickened with pearl barley in the bottom; the second, on 23.11.07, had a base of red kidney beans, whizzed up. This one was thickened using a celeriac mash I made for my Sunday dins. I looked all over for celeriac and never thought of Lidl, but there I found a great big celeriac root. I steamed it with an equal quantity of potatoes and mashed the two together with a bit of fat. OK, you might as well know the truth. I admit I used real, unsalted butter from real cows and it was delicious.

First thing this Monday morning, I had to shop. Foolishly, I'd neglected to stock up on Marigold at Fare Shares last week, so was obliged to pay a quid extra in Baldwins this morning, where I also purchased a 300g pouch of Clearspring Hatcho Miso. As it turned out, this was probably more than I needed and maybe I could have saved some in the re-sealable pouch. This miso has seriously deep flavour and I reckon I could've got away with using maybe 200g in the six litres of liquid that went into today's soup.

I had a selection of rooty veg left over from the weekend, two types of turnip and those long red radishes from the Turkish supermarket, to which I added a couple of smallish swedes from Somerfield (on sale at half price!) and a polythene pillow of shredded curly kale.

To make the soup, I started by peeling the cloves of a head of garlic and roughly chopping a couple of largish onions, throwing them into the bottom of the soup pot with a splash of oil while I peeled and diced four large carrots and washed and chopped a head of celery, which also went into the pot. These mixed vegetables cooked slowly over very low heat with the soup pot lid on, being removed occasionally to stir, while I got on with peeling and dicing the rooty veg. I spread the diced swede, turnips and radishes onto an oven tray with a smear of oil and popped them into a hot oven to roast for 15-20 minutes. In retrospect, I'd have been better off with a wok, but I didn't have one to hand.

To the cooked mixed vegetables in the soup pot, I added the celeriac and potato mash, at least 3/4kg of it, plus the off cuts from the cubed root vegetables and covered it two litres of Marigold bouillon. I simmered the soup for fifteen minutes, left it to stand for ten and then liquidizised it with Brenda the blender while adding another two litres of bouillon.

The blurb on the back of the miso packet advises: 'avoid lengthy boiling to preserve the enzymatic properties of this unpasteurised miso', so I dissolved the 300g of miso paste in two litres of water that was hot, but not boiling. Finally, I assembled the soup by adding the cubed root vegetables and the miso to the pot and shredding the kale a bit more finely before stirring it in to the finished soup.

Before the soup was finished - and it was ready for 12:30 - a couple of women were waiting and nearly all the soup was gone by 3:00. Soon after 3:15, when Crampton Primary School lets out, Jack Kelly Granger burst in, breathlessly, to claim the last bowl.

Among today's soup slurpers were Taz and Will, Alexa and Julian . Taz has got an iPhoney and Julian had to restrain himself from dunking it in his soup. I needed a photo for the blog, so Will took a picture of me with the iPhone and pretended to dunk it in my soup. My face in I+I soup, innit.

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