Today is Earth Day! Well…technically yesterday was…but it was Earth Day when I wrote this. What better way to celebrate than with a dish that’s vibrant and full of delicious vegetables?! I have to admit, I think its kinda perfect that I was also born on Earth Day Sometimes the best way to prepare great ingredients is to let them speak for themselves. Rather than obscure their flavor, let a carrot taste like a carrot, or cabbage taste like cabbage. This soup is simple, yet totally satisfying. Another thing that I highly suggest is saving some of the veggies from making the broth. Rather than letting them go to waste you can dress up the cooked carrots a bit with some olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, salt and pepper. Or experiment! If you add mushrooms to your broth, why not use them to make some marinated mushrooms? Add a little oil, vinegar, perhaps some fresh herbs, salt and pepper. One thing that I try to be mindful of is making the most out of the ingredients that I use. This is perhaps one of the best ways to pay respect to our Earth.
I have to give a shout out to Cut Brooklyn. Joel Bukiewicz crafts beautiful handmade knives. I mention this for a few reasons: 1.) they’re rad 2.) my husband gave me one today for my birthday 3.) I love to support small businesses that make quality products. You can check out a great mini-documentary on Joel and his workshop here. What girl wouldn’t want to be gifted a one-of-a-kind, bad ass knife? My husband knows me well.
2 stalks of lemongrass, peeled. The tough outer parts will be used in making the vegetable broth. The tender inner stalk should be finely chopped and set aside for later.
1 medium yellow onion, skin left on and chopped in half
6 large carrots, 4 of them peeled and roughly chopped, 2 of them peeled, sliced on the bias and set aside
4 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
3 cups shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and used in broth, caps sliced and set aside
1 small bunch of parsley
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
6-8 black peppercorns
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1/4 cup safflower oil
1 lotus root, peeled and sliced **
1/3 head nappa cabbage, roughly chopped
1/4 cup tamari
1/4 cup shiro miso (white mellow miso)
3 tbsp sriracha hot sauce, plus more for individual servings (optional)
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped for garnish
24 oz (roughly) soba noodles, preferably fresh and cooked according to the package. Fresh noodles only need a couple of minutes to cook in boiling water. Drain and rinse under cold water.
Prepare all of your veggies to make the broth. This includes the onion, 4 carrots, celery, mushroom stalks, parsley, or whatever else you have laying around that you might want to throw in there. Fill a large stock pot with 3 quarts of water and all of the veggies I just mentioned. Bring to a boil. I have read that bringing the water to a boil with the veggies already in it will help with the flavor and clarity of the broth. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a gentle boil and allow it to cook for about 45 minutes. While this is cooking, prep all of your other ingredients. Create a sache using some cheesecloth and place the thyme, bay leaf and peppercorns inside. Tie with some string and add it to the broth. Cook for another 15 minutes. Remove from the stove and allow the broth to cool slightly before straining. Don’t forget to save veggies like carrots and mushrooms for other uses! Also, if you haven’t already prepared your noodles, go ahead and do so now.
Return the stockpot to the stove and heat the safflower oil over medium. Add the garlic, lemongrass and ginger. Cook until the garlic is soft but not browned. Add the 2 carrots that have been sliced, along with the lotus root and mushroom slices. Saute for about 5 minutes.
Add the veggie broth and increase the heat to bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat again to a simmer. Add the miso, tamari and sriracha. Season with salt and pepper. Add in the cabbage and cook for another couple of minutes.
Serve individual bowls with some noodles, veggie broth and veggies, chopped basil and extra sriracha if you want…and I usually do.