We are in the grip of a cold snap. Temperatures have remained below freezing for the last three days, dipping down to almost the single digits Fahrenheit some mornings. I have learned from experience that extended periods of freezing temperature can freeze our water pipes, so the faucet furthest from the well must be left on at a slow drizzle.
If the temperature drops below 37ºF the furnace automatically switches from electric to propane heat. To save money on fuel a little time each day is spent cutting down dead trees and splitting firewood to keep the wood stove burning and to stockpile for the rest of the winter. It is soup weather, to be sure.
I had in mind a clear soup with fennel, parsnips and mushrooms.
The green fennel stalks are rather tough but have plenty of flavor to contribute. I cooked the stalks and fronds along with scraps from the other vegetables, making a broth to add to the soup.
Fennel, garlic, onion, celery, red pepper and jalapeño were tossed with toasted sesame oil and kosher salt and sautéed at high heat for just a few minutes.
Parsnips and water were then added.
May as well make use of the hot wood stove.
Since this was to be a brothy soup I didn’t want the veggies to overcook and disintegrate, so as soon as the veggies started to soften I removed the pot from the heat and let the vegetables finish cooking with residual heat under the lid.
It was time to sauté the mushrooms in toasted sesame oil with a pinch of kosher salt.
The strained fennel broth was added to the sautéing mushrooms.
The red miso I have is quite gritty so I mixed it with hot water, strained out the groats and poured the broth in with the mushrooms.
When the mushrooms were sufficiently cooked they were added to the rest of the soup. Seasoning was adjusted with a splash of soy sauce.
At the very last minute I decided to throw together some biscuits to enjoy with homemade red jalapeño jam.