Friday, March 13, 2015

Miso Chicken Noodle Soup

I love soup, and bread…I’ll be the first to admit, the second the weather gets cooler in the waning summer days, I cannot wait to pull out my dutch oven and begin experimenting with new soup recipes or old favorite ones. But it is March now, and the cold weather has been brutal this year with a thaw few and far between. I have made a lot of soup, I am tired of making soup, I’d like to eat a fresh salad, roast some new potatoes or find my grill under the snow.

That said, this post is still about soup. The kids have been sick, and their little tummies are still unstable after the evil stomach bug entered our house a week ago. I know many people out there have encountered this vicious strain, and all are struggling to pull themselves back together after it passes. In order to get them back to full strength, I have been trying to make some easy meals that tempt them, yet are not too heavy. Chicken soup is a staple, an easy fall back. But, there is nothing I dread more than opening a can of chicken soup, the look of the congealed fat floating on the top, and the wimpy noodles disgust me. If you are lucky you might find a random piece of chicken floating in the mess.

Homemade chicken soup is easy, and tastes so much better. I have never followed a recipe for making chicken soup, and I can’t say that it turns out the same every time. It depends on what I have available at the time, and what I am in the mood for.  Sometimes I have leftover chicken from a previous meal, but mostly I poach whatever chicken I have to use for the soup, it keeps it moist. This week, I needed an Asian flair to my soup, my stomach was fine, and I wanted to have a little zip for me, but still interest the minions. Miso was the way to go, and here is how it came together. There is no added salt to this soup, the miso itself is salty. (note, this is the basic recipe I use when I do not have miso in the house, so you can easily omit it, but it is really good)

olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 stalks celery, minced
1 yellow sweet pepper, chopped
8-10 cups low sodium or homemade chicken broth (start with 8, if you need more broth towards the end, add the extra)
1 can beans, drained and rinsed (white, garbanzo, black, whatever you have)
½ cup miso paste
3 cups cooked chicken, chopped
3 large handfuls frozen spinach
2 handfuls wide egg noodles

Start by heating the olive oil in your dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery and sweet pepper. Sauté for 5-8 minutes or until they start to soften up, dump in the chicken broth. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Return the heat to medium, add the beans, chicken and miso to the soup and stir until all the miso is dissolved. Add the spinach and egg noodles to the soup, cover once again and cook until the noodles are done. Stir well and adjust seasonings, it may need some ground black pepper, but don’t add any salt until you taste it.

If have other random vegetables laying around that sound good, add them. I frequently clean out the fridge to use up this and that in my soup, but this is the basic combination.

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