If you’ve ever gone out for sushi and had miso soup then you are probably familiar with miso. It is a salty, somewhat sweet, paste made mostly of fermented soybeans and can be used in soups, dressings, marinades, sauces, and more. There are three main kinds of miso, red, yellow, and white. They range from strongest to lightest, respectively. For this soup I used white miso, but any kind will do.
For the pork, choose a cut that has a bit of fat. This will keep the meat tender and give flavor to the broth. I used pork shoulder and the label said ‘soup’ on it so I thought it would probably work well! My pork was already cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks and I just left them like that, but feel free to slice them into thin strips if you prefer.
A note about mushrooms. They are delicious! One of my favorite ingredients and they add such a great depth of flavor and meatiness do any dish. For the oyster mushrooms I sliced some of the larger ones in half to make them more uniform in size. The enoki mushrooms I cut the bottom off and then separated them into smaller clumps. If you don’t separate them they will stay in a large clump so when you’r eating you’ll just get a big mouthful instead of getting a bit in each bite.
The idea for this recipe came as we were shopping at the Korean grocery getting all of our Asian vegetables. We had the bok choy and mushrooms in our basket and since it was a bit drizzly outside we thought soup would be perfect. A quick stop by the meat department and we were on our way.
This soup has a clean and satisfying broth and is packed with lots of veggies. What a lovely way to spend an evening!
Pork and Miso Soup – Serves 4, Cook Time – 40 minutes
1 lb pork shoulder
2 tablespoons sesame oil
8 cups water or chicken broth
2 carrots, sliced on the bias
5 oz oyster mushrooms
3 oz enoki mushrooms
2-3 bunches of baby bok choy
1/4 cup green onions, sliced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
5 tablespoons white miso (I used a more liquidy kind from a bottle rather than paste)
handful of udon noodles
salt, black pepper & white pepper, to taste
Season the pork with salt and black pepper. Heat the sesame oil in a large stock pot over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, carefully place the pork in the pot to brown the outside of the meat. Your goal is just to caramelize the outside of the meat to create flavor and not to cook the meat through. If you sliced your meat thinly, you may want to skip this step and just add the meat to the broth while its simmering.
When the meat is browned on all sides remove it and set aside. Add the carrots, mushrooms, and garlic to the pot. Season with salt and pepper and saute for a few minutes.
Add the water or broth and the ginger, soy sauce, and fish sauce. Cover the pot and bring to simmer. Once the broth is simmering, put the pork back into the pot and add the noodles. Simmer for 5 minutes for the pork and noodles to cook through and the flavors of the meat and vegetables to come together in the broth. Next, add the bok choy and green onions and simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes or until the bok choy is tender and the noodles are cooked fully.
Finally, stir in the miso and add a few shakes of white pepper. You may need additional salt or you can add a couple more dashes of soy sauce if you prefer. Season with black pepper as desired and serve. This recipes makes about six servings.