The recipe I am sharing with you this week is almost always in my freezer, my clients’ freezers and simmering in my slow cooker. It is not always exactly the same, depending on what I have on hand and what I am using it for, but it is always filled with vitamins and minerals, easy to consume and very diverse.
It is a vegetable stock, but even better. It’s made with lots of mineral-rich sea vegetables, the aromatic and powerful members of the allium family (onions, leek, garlic), the anti-inflammatory rhizome dream team (ginger and turmeric), immune-boosting shitake mushroom stems (you know, the part we sometimes throw out…), and of course, lots of clean, hydrating water.
I might be making this up, but I feel like ‘stock’ is a base to be made into something else (soup, sauce, stew) whereas ‘broth’ can be enjoyed as it is. This recipe can be both. On its own, with the help of a pinch of salt (and some turmeric –activating black pepper), it is a clean, flavourful, hydrating way to sip your nutrients. Especially when you might be going through a time when eating food and drinking water is not your favourite thing to do.
As a stock, it can be used as the base for any soup recipe, or really any recipe that calls for stock. I often say to add water to soup recipes, because the packaged stuff can be a bit scary (in ingredients, packaging and equally importantly, in flavour), and if you have enough tasty stuff going on in the soup, pure water is a totally valid, extremely low maintenance option. But if you have this stock, already full of stuff your body reeeeeally wants, just sitting in your freezer (in a glass container), it only makes sense to use it, turning your soup into something that will bring tears of happiness to every cell in your body.
(This looks very close to the kelp-y ocean I was surfing in last week)
For this reason, it is also a great thing to stock up in your freezer for when you know you (or someone you love) is about to go through a rough patch. You can sip it like tea and even add some extra pieces of ginger to help out with the nausea. When you feel a bit better, you can throw in some greens –watercress, cilantro leaves, spinach, maybe some green onions and even a little oomph from some quinoa or millet.
My favourite thing to do with this stock is to heat up two cups of it, stir in some miso paste at the very end and pour it over some fresh veggies in a soup bowl. Japanese miso soup uses a dashi stock base, which is made with kombu as well, so my version tastes close to real miso soup while showing off a little more, nutritionally. It is the perfect meal for one.
I have included a recipe for miso soup for one. It is easy to multiply and make for many people at once too, but I sometimes find delicious and simple recipes for one person more challenging to come by. Once you have the veg stock on hand, the miso soup is very easy to prepare, especially if you really don’t feel up to cooking. It is also easy for someone else (who perhaps doesn’t have much cooking experience, but really wants to make you –and possibly themselves -something nourishing and tasty) to figure out.
- 4-5 Kombu sheets
- ¼c Dulse
- 1 Leek, rinsed
- 1 Red Onion, peel ON, washed and large diced
- 1 bunch Green Onions
- 4 Garlic cloves, peel ON, washed and sliced in half
- ¼ c Ginger, sliced
- 3 Tbsp Turmeric (fresh), sliced (if dried, use 1 tbsp + 2 tsp)
- Shitake Mushroom stems (if you have some saved in your freezer, or if you are making the soup below, use those mushroom stems)
- Water (4 lt + more if simmering for a long time)
- 2c Seaweed Broth
- 2 Tbsp Miso paste (chickpea or brown rice organic/non-GMo)
- ¼ c Shitake Mushrooms, sliced thinly, stems removed (and used in above broth, or freeze for future broth)
- ¼ c Millet, soaked for 12+ hours, drained, rinsed and cooked in water with some turmeric.
- 1 Tbsp dried Arame
- Small handful of Watercress
- 2 Tbsp Green Onions, sliced
- Several grinds of Black Pepper (to optimize turmeric absorption)
- Bring all ingredients to a boil, lower to a simmer, and let simmer for 1-2 hours. Keep topping up water level if it drops.
- Alternatively, put all ingredients in a slow cooker and let it simmer all day or over night.
- Strain through a colander and then a fine mesh sieve.
- Use in soup or:
- Let cool before refrigerating. Once fridge-cold, transfer to freezer-safe containers and keep on hand for soup-making. Keep in mind the volume of your freezer containers. If it's likely only going to be you and someone else eating it, freeze into 500ml (2 cup) containers, you can always pull out 2 or 3 at a time.
- Bring the broth to a simmer on the stove top.
- Prepare as many bowls as people who you are feeding.
- In each bowl, put all of the ingredients except for the miso. Make it look pretty if you're feeling fancy, but it's not important.
- Turn the heat off from under the broth and remove it from the heat. Spoon in the miso paste (about a Tbsp per 250 ml (1 cup) broth) and whisk it until there are no lumps.
- Carefully pour it over the bowls of arranged ingredients.
- The shitakes will cook, the green onions and watercress will soften and get vibrantly green and the arame will turn into tasty black seaweed noodles.