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Winter Stew

As we hit the colder parts of the year, I've come to appreciate a simple stew I began throwing together a couple of months ago. I like regular stew well enough, but there often is no way to make just enough for two. I could reuse chilled and frozen portions all year, but this quickly gets dull. I've also been on a fish binge of late. Fish, more than chicken or beef, holds up really well to quick cooking, especially if say, you've forgotten to defrost something in good time, which I do often. My preference, just for the colour, is salmon or rainbow trout, but any fish you enjoy in broth works.

The stew I make uses a few other ingredients I've come back to enjoy -- konnyaku, which has such a lovely, jelly-like texture that resists mild boiling, and fu, whose peculiar bread-like texture softens in the milk broth but doesn't quite disintegrate. Tofu adds slivers of soft silkenness, while carrots can be cooked fast enough to be tender bites of sweet and bright. What brings everything together though, is the milk, miso and seafood broth. Seafood in particular for the umami flavour, which balances out nicely with milk for richness. I add a teaspoon of honey to round out the overall sweetness at the end. Temper the fishiness of your broth with a tablespoon of ginger juice (or minced ginger) if you like. Especially if you are using soymilk for the broth, this really brings out the warmth and heart of the dish.


1 fillet of salmon (cubed)
2 cups fish broth
1 - 2 cups milk (preferably soy)
2 tsps white miso paste
1 tsp honey
1 carrot (cubed)
3 leaves Chinese cabbage
¼ block silken tofu (sliced)
1 handful fu cubes
¼ cup konnyaku jelly (cubed)
2 scallions or ½ leek (sliced thin)
½ cup sliced glutinous rice cakes/mochi (optional)

1. Over medium-low heat, bring broth, milk, carrot and cabbage to a gentle simmer. If using rice cakes, add them at this stage.
2. Dissolve miso paste separately in about 2 - 4 tablespoons of hot broth or water.
3. When carrots are tender, add fish then miso paste and remaining ingredients, honey and fu last.
4. Once fish is cooked to your preference (I like mine medium rare), turn off heat and serve stew warm. The stew goes well with steamed rice, though if you are already using rice cakes in the stew, this won't be necessary.



( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 3rd, 2013 01:59 am (UTC)
Oh dear - tea wasn't enough this time.

*makes a pot of stew*
Jan. 3rd, 2013 06:06 am (UTC)
Well, it's the season for tea and stew, clearly. Luckily, it's a quick stew recipe that I posted.
Jan. 3rd, 2013 02:16 pm (UTC)
Very nice. :)
Jan. 3rd, 2013 07:09 pm (UTC)
Aww, thanks!
Jan. 3rd, 2013 07:25 pm (UTC)
Meanwhile, I think I might try a braised squash with miso tonight. It seems like a good winter dish. When I woke up this morning, Boston was in the single digits. That's cold!
Jan. 4th, 2013 01:39 am (UTC)
I just tried my homemade mentaiko on hot rice, which was my dose of, "aieee! super salty!" for the day. Also, my home-cured fish eggs are strong stuff. They seriously need some toning down in butter and cream.

Braised squash with miso keeps a good long while. It'll make a really nice winter side dish! I like to dice in some konnyaku or preserved meat into my braised winter veggies for textural fun. A bit of wriggly squishiness to go with the soft and creamy.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )