Pulled Pork Miso Soup

Makes appx. 4 servings

4 cups broth
3 Tbsp red miso paste
5 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
About 2 cups baby broccoli or broccoli rabe, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp sesame oil
Salt and pepper
2 ramen noodle cakes
1 ½ cups pulled pork (I recommend using our recipe for Bunless Banh Mi here)

  • Heat the broth over medium heat in a small saucepan. In a measuring cup, add the miso paste and one ladle full of the broth. Stir the paste and the broth together until no lumps are left. Pour the miso broth back into the rest of the broth and stir to combine. This way, the miso doesn’t clump in the finished soup.
  • In a skillet, drizzle the sesame oil and heat over medium-high heat. Give the pan about a minute to heat up, then add the broccoli rabe. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes, until that side is just starting to brown. Toss the broccoli rabe and let cook for another minute or so.
  • If the pulled pork is not already warm, push the broccoli rabe to the side of the pan and add the pork. Cook for about a minute, until the pork is warmed through.
  • Boil 4 cups of water in a small pot. Once the water is boiling, add the ramen noodles. Cook for one minute, then turn the heat to a simmer. Cook for another 3 minutes or so, until the noodles readily come apart when poked. Drain the water.
  • To assemble the soup: In a bowl, add a scoop of the ramen noodles. Ladle a scoop or two of the miso broth over the noodles, along with some of the broccoli rabe and some of the pulled pork.

Moving from California to Massachusetts gets you a lot of funny looks and incredulous comments. Friends and acquaintances couldn’t believe that we would give up beautiful, sunny, temperate California for cold, snowy Massachusetts. Some of James’s coworkers warned him all throughout November of the hell that was coming. They didn’t know that my friends had already tried to scare him off with the best of their “This one time, when I was shoveling” stories.

Well, here we are, in early January. We recently had a cold spell of about a week, in which the temperature never rose above 20 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and got to -5 or -6 at night, not including the wind chill. Near the end of that week of cold, we also got a snowstorm that deposited about a foot of snow on us, accompanied by wind that blew that snow around every time we tried to shovel it.

Despite all that, or perhaps because of it, he’s still loving the winter. Shoveling is exhausting, as is chopping and lugging firewood, as is simply walking through these giant snow drifts. But still, he comes in, face glowing pink from the cold, shaking his hands to life, grinning from ear to ear. He loves the beauty of the snow and the challenge of going on walks through it. He doesn’t love the cold, but his body seems to be built for New England winters. (I can’t say the same for mine, unfortunately. Blood doesn’t seem to want to stay in my extremities).

But winter is made all the more bearable, even with superhuman circulation, with hot soups for dinner. When we got some red miso paste to experiment with for Christmas (thanks again, Aaron and Jen!), one of the things we decided to do with it was make a soup. I don’t get to eat miso soup at restaurants often, since it’s not something that is often clearly gluten free, so I was eager to try some version of it. We also had leftover pulled pork from a big batch of Bunless Banh Mi, and I thought the pork would round out the flavors in the miso well and also make the soup more of a meal. Which reminds me — we’re calling this a “miso soup” because it has miso in it and it is a soup. However, traditional miso soup is cooked with nori (the type of edible seaweed also used in sushi), which this soup is not. It’s so delicious though, non-legit miso soup or not. It has the charm, for me, of not having many ingredients, but tons of flavor. I’m big on texture in my soups (i.e. I don’t like everything in the soup to have the exact same texture), so I cooked all the ingredients separately and then added them together. If you have different preferences or different time constraints, you could always try cooking everything together in a bigger pot. No guarantees though!

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