Cold-Buster Miso Soup

The Holidays aren’t just about exchanging greetings and gifts – they’re also about swapping germ pools.  This soup helps banish those bugs and also gives the digestive tract a well-deserved break from a couple of weeks of excessive merriment.  While there are added herbals to jam-pack the brew with cold-busting goodness, the harder to find ingredients are optional.  Regardless why you turn to it and whether you use the herbs or not, it’s easy to make, delicious and warming: ideal for the glacial winter temperatures sweeping through Canada right now.

Yield: 8 cups

What you need:

  • 2 cups shredded Savoy or Napa cabbage (regular cabbage, halved Brussel sprouts, broccoli florets or mustard greens are fine as substitutes since they also have the allyl isothiocyanates this soup is looking for, just adjust cooking time accordingly)
  • 1/2 cup finely diced rutabaga or turnip (more allyl isothiocyanate)
  • 1 onion, quartered and finely sliced (taste and sulfur compounds)
  • 2″ or 3″ of fresh ginger, peeled and grated (heating and digestive)
  • 1″ of fresh turmeric, peeled and grated (about 1/2 teaspoon of dry turmeric powder can be used as a substitute for the fresh if necessary; as to the why it’s there – what can turmeric not do?)
  • 2″ kombu seaweed (demulcent and adds trace minerals)
  • 1 slice cinnamon (cassia) twig or a small shard of cinnamon bark (not true cinnamon, the hard stuff that’s sold in groceries is what’s called for here; it helps circulate the formula and heat the body along with the ginger)
  • 1 small slice astragalus root (optional, feeds the deep immune system)
  • 7 cups filtered water
  • 1/2 cup mugi (barley) miso (or another type of miso if preferred, just adjust the given amount accordingly since a red miso will be somewhat saltier, a white one not so much)
  • finely sliced fresh scallions for garnish (optional)

What you do:

  1. In a large saucepan or small stockpot, place all the ingredients except for the mugi miso.                        DSCN0782
  2. Bring everything to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes, or until the vegetables are done to taste.  Turn off heat.
  3. Strain some of the broth into a small bowl or large glass measuring cup.  Make sure that the liquid is no longer boiling.  Whisk in the barley miso until smooth and return to the soup pot, mixing well to combine.
  4. Serve immediately with fresh scallions as garnish if desired.

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