Thursday, November 3, 2016

Miso Happy!

I know you've all been thinking, "I need more umami in my life!"  Right?
Well, here's some umami for you.

I saw a recipe for Miso Corn Soup in Bon Appétit last July and bookmarked it for later.

First time around, I used the wrong miso though.   Bon Appétit called for white miso, and I had a package of white miso instant soup in my cabinets. I don't even know why I had miso instant soup mix in the first place since I don't use mixes.  Wait...  I might have an idea why I had instant soup mix in my pantry.  Sometimes, people give me ... stuff.  There's a certain mindset some people have that if one cooks from the heart and actually makes an effort to - you know - cook, then one is considered a "gormay" cook.  When one is considered a gormay cook, one receives gifts from those cutesie ye olde gormay cooking shoppes.  Generally, these gifts come in the guise of gormay soups, sauces, and marinades, in powdered or ground form, all in little foil packages.

Now here's the rub.  If one takes the time to make their own stocks, soups, sauces, and marinades, then one ain't gonna want to make an instant Hollandaise from a packet of chemicals.  If one is making Hollandaise, one will actually use real egg yolks- embryos from a mother hen, lemon juice from an actual lemon, and real butter that eventually made its way from a real cow.  Now, I shall stop my little rant and get off my soapbox.

Oh wait...  I do have a teeny, tiny confession to make.

If you check out my cabinets, you will find at least four boxes of Onion Soup Mix.  (Yes.  Four boxes.  That's got Mr. H. written all over it.)
They are NOT to make onion soup with!
You know I would be using my own beef consommé for that.

The mix is used in one of Mama Hawthorne's receipts -  chicken breasts with rice and a can of pineapple slices or chunks and some chicken stock with Lipton Onion Soup Mix. 
Mama would always use water.  Chicken stock was not heard of in her day.

Cover with foil and bake about 50 minutes at 350°.

It's one of Mr. Hawthorne's favorite dishes.
Simple, easy, one-dish, down-home good.
Try it.
Again, trust Rosie.  
When has she ever let you down?

Here's the chicken dish.  I like pickin' it out of the baking dish.

Now, back to the Corn Miso Soup...

  The first time around, I used that white miso instant soup mix.

The resultant product was good; however, it didn't set off any bells and whistles for me and I don't know what the instant soup did for it, if anything.

I had leftover soup, so's I made a trip to the Teeter and found a shiro miso soy bean paste.  This was probably what they were talking about, but it wasn't white.  It was brown.

The second time around, I added shiro miso paste.  That did the trick.

Yummy umami!  Try saying that 5 times fast.

Now, you may be asking, "What is miso paste?"  I'd only heard of miso soup in Japanese cuisine, but since using this fermented soybean seasoning, I've noticed miso popping up in a lot of recipes -  seared tuna, green beans, and even banana bread.  Miso is more than just a soup additive.  It adds savory qualities to salad dressings, marinades, dips, aioli, glazes, pasta, greens, deviled eggs, seafood, and roasted vegetables.  I can barely pick up a cooking magazine now without running into some preparation with miso paste.  I even found miso-caramel apples.

Tasting the miso right out of the container, it's salty, similar to soy sauce, and somewhat sweet and savory.

 I had to do a bit of research (i.e., Googling) miso.  It is a fermented paste made from mashed soybeans, rice or barley, salt, water, and a mold called Aspergillus Oryzae, AKA "Koji," a staple in the traditional Japanese fermentation process.  A. Oryzae can also be in found in sake, soy sauce, and rice vinegar.

  There are three basic types of miso paste - light, medium, and dark.  The light or white miso (shiro miso) is not fermented as long as the others, is less salty, and has a more delicate flavor.  Medium miso  (shinshu miso)  is fermented longer than shiro miso.  The dark miso  (aka miso)  is fermented even longer, is saltier, and is more pungent and assertive.  To confuse myself even more, the miso I ended up buying was shiro miso, but it was brown.

Now, here's my adapted version of Bon Appétit's Miso Corn Soup, which is so adapted that I wouldn't even call it Bon Appétit's anymore.  And you're welcome that I do all the legwork on this so you don't have to.  But then, that's pretty much what I do.

Miso Corn Soup
3 ears of fresh corn
2 TB unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped
big pinch of sugar
Forget the white miso instant soup mix or you can try it if you like.  I did.
2-3 TB shiro miso bean paste, taste test
1 cup cream
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
chopped scallions and fresh basil leaves

Cut kernels from cobs and place in bowl.

Put cobs in pot, add a quart of water to cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until stock is infused with corn flavor - about 30-40 minutes - until the stock is reduced to about 2 1/2 cups cups.

Heat butter in medium pot over medium heat.  Add onion and sugar and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 3-4 minutes.  Add 1-2 TB miso paste and 1cup corn stock, stirring to dissolve the paste.  Using an immersion blender, process until smooth.  Add rest of corn stock and cream and blend.  Taste test and season, if you like, with remaining miso paste for more flavor enhancement, or with salt and pepper.

Serve, topping with chopped scallions, fresh basil, and chili oil.

For chili oil:  In a small skillet, dry toast a tablespoon each of paprika and chili powder until fragrant.  Add in 2 tablespoons of oil (I used canola.), stirring, and cook for 2 minutes.  Let cool a bit, then pour into a plastic squirt bottle and commence to squirtin'.

I've read all those little "tips" that tell you how to cut kernels off the cobs.
Don't bother with them.
 Forget the bowl in the bowl technique.

Forget the Bundt pan.


Just lay the ears on a cutting board and slice the kernels off, rotating the ear.  Simple.
This is a picture I had pulled out of my files from an ear I had caramelized in butter and some sugar for another preparation.
 That's some kind of good!

Hmmm.  That just gave me an idea.  Now that I think about it, caramelized corn miso soup doesn't sound too shabby either! Next time I make this soup, I'll use caramelized corn kernels.  That little extra bit of sweetness would balance with and play off of the miso quite nicely.  Talk about flavor enhancement!

And there ya go!  Try to get all the silk out you can...
which reminds me of this Rachael Ray video in which one of her a-little-too-avid fans shows Rach how to de-silk corn.  Apparently that's what the kids are calling it these days.  Click on the link and please enjoy!

Simmer the ears until the corn stock is reduced.

Sauté the onion in butter.

Here's the stuff I used the first time around.
I wouldn't bother.

I sprinkled in the instant soup mix and added corn stock.
Stir to dissolve the mix.

Next I added in the kernels and more stock.

Immersion blend away!

Add in rest of corn stock.

Finish off with the cream, continuing to blend.
Taste test and season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
And serve.

Sprinkle on some fresh chopped chives and basil.

I liked it, but this soup could use some more flavor- more intensity. 

And that's where the shiro miso paste came in.
I found shiro miso paste at the Teeter and decided to try this addition to my soup.

Here's the second time around soup.  Taste test when adding the miso paste.
Houston, we have soup!
We have deeper color.  Deeper flavor.  We have umami. 
Serve with some sliced scallions and diced red, orange, yellow, and green peppers.

This is a rich soup with deep corn flavor, and that certain somethin'-somethin', which would be the miso.  Umami!  Yo Mama!  How did we ever live without knowing about umami?

Now I need to use up the rest of the shiro miso. 
This should be fun.  As you know, this is what I do.  Experiment in the kitchen.  So be looking out for more MISO RECIPES!

No comments: