Miso for a “Souper” Flavor Boost
There is nothing like a simple chicken soup made by simmering the carcass of a roasted or grilled chicken for an hour or so along with a few veggies to round out the flavor. Along with pulling out the last bit of flavor and nutrition, the simmering process makes it a lot easier to pull off those last bits of meat from the bones.
And that’s just what I did today. I had saved all the bones from 3.5 or so pound chicken (in this case, freshly slaughtered pasture-raised chicken from Copicut Farms of Dartmouth MA) and, after picking the last bite-size pieces off for chicken salad, tossed them in a saucepan along with 1/2 ear of leftover corn and some green onion stems, and covered with water before setting on the stove to simmer.
After an hour or so, I strained the stock, let things cool a bit, picked the final bits of meat off the bones, and put the meat in the fridge to stay at a safe temperature while I finished off the soup. The possibilities are endless, but I chose to slice two small carrots and tear up a few leaves and stems of arugula to add to the stock after bringing it back to a simmer. Oh, I also cut the kernels off that 1/2 ear of corn. Waste not, want not, and corn adds fiber. 🙂 All the veggies were from Farmer Dave’s of Dracut MA.
I had tried a sip of the stock when it was first done and it was just fine – simple, clean, but with a bit of depth to the flavor that differentiates a stock from cooked bones and a broth from raw chicken. But suddenly, as I was adding the chicken back to the soup, I remembered the miso soup I had enjoyed when eating out a few weeks before. At that time, I had said to myself “I need to remember to make miso soup.” I do always have at least one type of miso paste in my fridge and am thankful that, being a live fermented food, miso paste keeps well since I remember to use it less often than I would like.
Mellow White Miso is what I had in the fridge and it turns out that it is a great match for chicken. I put about a teaspoon in a small bowl, added some of the hot stock to dissolve, added more soup, and stirred it up. Voila! The miso paste added a subtle complexity that brought this simple soup to a new level, perfect for a special occasion as well as for an everyday meal.
Do note that you should never add miso paste during the cooking or reheating process or the probiotics/ “good bacteria” will be killed. The best approach is to add it to each individual bowl as served. And, I highly recommend pairing this and any soup with a slice of bread from Mamadou’s Artisan Bakery of Winchester MA. Sometimes the simplest ingredients make for the most splendid of meals.