Vegan Mushroom Miso Soup & A Few Notes on Parsley
When the weather gets chilly and I get hungry I crave soup. Thick, warm, satisfying goodness that goes down easy and warms every nook and cranny.
Pureed vegetable soups are my favorite. A hearty spoonful of creamy vegetables that slip and slide their way down is like a cozy blanket for my belly. Eating them, I feel not only nourished, but also, I confess, pretty darn proud of myself. If one half cup of pureed vegetables is a serving, a two-cup bowl of one of my soups just about fills the quota for a day.
This recipe is simple with only four ingredients (five if you count water, six if you also count sherry). As the soup is pureed, prep time is minimal. The veggies need only be chopped roughly. I buy pre-sliced mushrooms about half baby portobellos and half white.
How To Deglaze A Pan
The only trick to this recipe is to make sure you deglaze the pan to squeeze out every molecule of flavor.
What is deglazing and why should I bother?
Deglazing is a fancy word for something you probably already do without even knowing it. It’s when you pour liquid into a hot pan to loosen all the yummy brown bits that are stuck to the bottom then scrape with a spatula.
How to deglaze:
Sauté until the bottom of the pan is dark brown but not burnt. (tip: if you burn the bottom of the pan, don’t scrape it! Dump the unburned contents into a bowl, wash the pan, then start again. Unless intentional ie. blackened, burnt food will ruin your dish.)
If there’s a lot of fat, pour some of it off.
Turn the heat up to high and watch carefully. When the bottom of the pan is coated with a brown residue, it’s time!
Add liquid (wine, stock, vinegar, etc.) into the pan. (tip: if you’re adding a high alcohol liquid ie. brandy, cognac, etc. take the pan from the heat so it doesn’t flame off your eyebrows.)
Use a spoon or spatula to scrape the brown bits then lower the heat.
If you had two bowls of vegetable soup side by side, one deglazed during prep, one not, I swear you would be able to tell the difference. SO DEGLAZE YOUR PAN!!!
VEGAN MUSHROOM MISO SOUP
This is probably the easiest, fastest, vegetable soup recipe in my repertoire.
Heat the pan until water droplets dance. Coat the bottom of the pan with oil. Add onions and parsley (optional) I like to tie a bunch of parsley then lift it out at the end. It adds a bit of flavor but if you don’t have parsley, you can skip this step.
Heat on medium until onions are soft and the bottom of the pan is covered with brown bits. This is the sugar from the onions that have caramelized. Scrape the bottom of the pan and stir. Let the bottom of the pan caramelize again. Don’t let it burn!
Deglaze the pan with sherry.
Add chopped celery, stir.
Add mushrooms. Once they cook down, add the water & bring to a simmer.
Simmer for 15 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Remove parsley.
Puree with hand blender or mixer. I have a Vita-mix that purees to a silky consistency.
Add water or miso to taste. I like it thick!
A NOTE ABOUT PARSLEY:
The mild bitterness of parsley brightens savory dishes. It is often relegated to the role of garnish but deserves more respect than that! This year, I’ve had a bumper crop of parsley in my herb garden. Usually, the bunnies nibble it down to the ground but my fearless doggie, Rocco, has kept them at bay.
I always cook with flat parsley because curly parsley tends to be more bitter.
The stems are tough but have lots of flavor. When using to sprinkle on food, place your chopped parsley into a paper town, wrap, and squeeze hard to get out as much liquid as possible. This way, the parsley won’t clump or bleed green into your dish.
Fun parsley facts:
Chewing parsley will clean your breath especially after eating garlic.
Parsley has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
Parsley was used by ancient Romans to eliminate the effects of hangovers and woven into garlands.