Butternut Miso Soup

I created this silky soup recently for my Winter Solstice Supper. It takes a bit to get all the pieces of this soup together, but it is low maintenance to prepare – you can set it to simmer and walk away for a while.  It’s well worth it; the sweetness of butternut squash and roasted garlic blends well with the earthy richness of corn stock, miso, and butter beans.

This soup is great served with a small glass of sweet sherry and a side of cornbread. 4 main servings.

Ingredients

For the Soup

  • 2 corn cobs (1 cup sweet corn) corn
  • 1 cup shallot peels or chopped shallots
  • 1 pound butternut squash or butterkin
  • 1 dry cup butter beans or lima beans
  • 1-2 tbsp brown miso
  • smoked paprika
  • 8 sprigs fresh or 1/2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 bulb garlic

Garnish

  • sour cream and milk for garnish
  • salsa verde or a green chile hot sauce
  • cilantro, radish leaves, pickled jalapenos, and/or pickled carrots for garnish

Instructions

  • Make a stock: combine the corn cobs and shallot peels in a stockpot and fill the pot (up to 1 gallon) generously with water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for at least 45 minutes up to two hours. This stock will keep well for a few days in advance (make extra and it’s also killer in chowders).
  • Drain the stock and return it to a large stockpot. Rinse the beans and add them to the stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the beans are cooked. As the beans are heating, peel, de-seed, and cube the butternut squash. Add the squash to the beans pot – add a little more water as needed to cover the beans and veg.
  • While the pot is cooking, separate the cloves of garlic but do not peel. Wrap the cloves in foil, making an envelope packet. Roast the garlic for about 25-30 minutes on high heat in the oven or toaster oven.
  • After roasting, unwrap the packet to let the garlic cool for a moment before peeling the cloves – they should now be soft and slightly sweet. Scoop all of the garlic out into the soup.
  • Take the pot off the heat and blend it into a puree using a stick blender or blender in batches. Feel free to add a bit more water as necessary to make immersion blending easier. Return the soup to the pot and return to a simmer. Season with 1 tbsp of the miso, oregano, and some smoked paprika. Taste and adjust as needed, adding more miso if you feel it needs more salt. At this point, the soup may seem that it is lacking acidity – this will come from the crema garnish.
  • As the soup is simmering with seasoning, make a crema, mixing together about 2 parts sour cream to 1 part milk or milk kefir (start with 3 tbsp sour cream and 1.5 tbsp milk). Assemble other garnishes – chopping herbs and pickled jalapenos into small pieces.
  • Serve the soup in bowls, topping generously with the crema, some herbs, and some pickles. Cornbread makes a great accompaniment!
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