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the soup that heals

Happy new year to you! Sending all of my big hugs. The time for personal betterment is upon us (as always). But first, some soup.

A snow storm drove us indoors right in the midst of holiday time, so I’ve been going hard with the nesting/self care thing. I love to make a vegetable-heavy soup with miso, shoyu/tamari and ginger when I feel a bit off, whether I’m hungover or just generally space-y. The steamy ritual of it brings me back to earth and offers a bit of reconnection. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated; just whatever vegetables you have around, a nice broth and some quiet time to enjoy. A version of it was my breakfast of choice for a while, a blast of perfect silence to get the day rolling.

This particular version follows the theme of intense nourishment. I took every immune-boosting, deep-warming, feel good vibe-inducing ingredient I had and put it into this healthy and delicious bowl of love. You get to hold your head over the pot of fragrant broth while it simmers and deepens in flavour. I’m pretty fond of these pour-over style soups. Get the broth crazy hot, splash it around some finely cut vegetables/precooked noodles etc, and instant comfort is yours for the moment. If you batch-cook some broth, tasty and fortifying lunches are a cinch throughout the week.

There’s a lot going on in the pot and I’m confident that some ingredients can be substituted/left out altogether and you’ll still wind up with something tasty and soothing–very much a freestyle kind of effort. I used shiitake mushrooms (stems + caps), ginger, lemongrass, chilies, miso, tamari, cilantro (stems + leaves), thyme and some other aromatics. Pour that potent and mega hot broth over a tangle of vegetable shreds, garnish with sprouts and herbs, a squeeze of lime, some drops of sesame oil, maybe a dab of sriracha swirled into the mix. The process of it leads to a surprisingly heady food-life experience. Simmer, chop, pour, garnish, breathe it in, spoon lifted, instant calm.

Once you get into it, slurping everything up gives you a lightly sweaty flash of food-induced warmth that feels so good. It’s that deeply restorative, whole body satiation that snaps everything into focus and makes you feel ready. Nourishment and power in the palm of your hands. 2013, bring it.


a magic healing soup
serves:
2
notes: Whatever vegetables you decide to use, make sure they’re sliced up rather finely. You’re depending on the heat of the broth to soften them up, so rustic chunkiness is less desirable in this recipe. A vegetable peeler, which is what I used to make the strands of broccoli stems, is very helpful with achieving fine-ness.

broth:
1 five inch piece of lemongrass, bashed up with the back of your knife
1 celery stalk, sliced
1 onion, quartered
4-5 shiitake mushroom stems (slice the caps for the soup)
1 three inch piece of ginger, sliced
1 clove of garlic, smashed
1 chili, sliced in half
4-5 sprigs thyme
handful of cilantro stems (save the leaves)
1/4 cup tamari soy sauce
2 tsp miso (add at the end of simmering time to preserve nutrients)

to serve:
1-1.5 cups finely sliced vegetables per person (I used carrots, snow peas, broccoli stems and the shiitake caps)
cilantro leaves
sliced green onions
sprouts (I had pea shoots)
toasted sesame oil
sriracha
lime wedges

Make the broth: combine all of the broth ingredients except for the miso in a medium-large sauce pan over medium heat. Pour 5 cups of water over top. Bring to a boil and simmer for half an hour or so (or longer if you want a more concentrated stock). Strain the broth and return it to the pot. Keep the broth hot. Add miso to the pot and stir right before serving

While broth is simmering, you can slice up the vegetables and garnishes.

Arrange vegetables in serving bowls. Pour/ladle hot broth over top. Stir it up a bit. Garnish as you like with herbs, sprouts, sriracha etc.

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sreebindu02/01/2013 - 2:56 am

loving your space, New follower here.wishing u a gorgeous new year ahead :)
xx

thelittleloaf02/01/2013 - 5:35 am

I can’t think of a more perfect way to kick off the New Year than with this soup – absolutely gorgeous and exactly what I’m craving.

Emma Galloway02/01/2013 - 8:04 am

Sounds like one beautiful soup. Book-marking for winter down these ways xx

Erin02/01/2013 - 9:36 am

What a delicious looking soup-plus any soup you can lather in sriracha is a good deal :)

Elizabeth A.02/01/2013 - 11:18 am

Great minds really do think alike! I was planning on whipping up a pot of miso soup today, too. I love this concept of pouring the broth over thin vegetable shreds. Totally doing this.

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar02/01/2013 - 11:40 am

This looks fabulous!

Ashlae03/01/2013 - 12:44 am

This is my kinda soul food. Looks delicious, lady – can’t wait to try.

Kathryn03/01/2013 - 6:35 am

I need a big bowl of this soup right now I think – I’m totally craving bright and fresh flavours after the excesses of Christmas.

Dawn @ Florida Coastal Cooking03/01/2013 - 6:53 am

What a pretty soup! We definitely need more healing soups after the holidays.

Hannah04/01/2013 - 1:45 am

Bring it indeed! This looks terrific Laura – can’t wait to give it a go. (Also, that bowl with the punchy red lip is a perfect vessel for showcasing that riot of color! Love it).

vegan miam04/01/2013 - 2:40 am

I am a massive fan of soups. That looks amazinggggggg

sarah04/01/2013 - 1:18 pm

This post made me feel so happy. What a beautiful soup to start the New Year with. Magic, indeed. {Love you to, Ms. Laura! And Happy New Year!}

Gail06/01/2013 - 4:53 pm

January is definitely my vegetable-craving month. Thanks for the guidelines for making this kind of soup; it’s not one I’ve done at home before. Your composition of vegetables on the cutting board is beautiful and really helped me wrap my mind around the ingredient list: I can do this new combo! And soup for breakfast… Mmmm! Most people don’t get it, but some days it is just Right.

Kathryne06/01/2013 - 6:08 pm

Happy new year, Laura. I just can’t get enough of the flavors in this soup this time of your. So pretty.

Sarah | Shine Food07/01/2013 - 1:26 pm

This is exactly my idea of a magically healing soup. I ate a bowl of pho on new year’s day loaded with sprouts, cilantro, and chilies, and thought, “who needs the noodles?” It’s all about that irresistible broth, the snap of fresh vegetables, and the soul-soothing smell.

We’re collecting healthy recipes for this month’s Shine Supper Club, and this recipe would be an amazing contribution. I hope you’ll join us!

Ashley07/01/2013 - 1:33 pm

This NEEDS to happen around our house. The holidays have ended but I’m having a hard time stopping the holiday eating. This looks like the perfect dish to get us back on track.

[...] Since I can’t eat Vietnamese pho on a regular basis, I think I’m going to give this magic healing soup a go.  Anytime you add sriracha, it’s a good [...]

[...] Soup to beat the weather – I came across this website a while back. While she uses tempeh etc.. in her recipes which makes me wary I love her ideas. Plus the photography is brilliant. [...]

Angie03/02/2013 - 11:25 pm

I made this today and it came out amazing! Thanks for the recipe.

[...] up was this recipe for “A Soup that Heals”. This soup was wonderfully synergistic and packed with [...]

[...] a magic healing soup with a side of brown [...]

angela byers27/02/2013 - 9:39 am

Looks awesome

R07/03/2013 - 6:00 am

Miso is my savory best friend. I have a couple of tubs in the fridge t all times. It is soup, broth, or tea in a minute. It plays well with friends, can be sweet with tahini, oranges, etc or savory with lime, ginger and tamari. Really! What ever is in the fridge or cupboard.

Lunch yesterday was leftover noodles, mandaline sliced peppers, scallions, apple, boc choy, summer squash, splash of vinegar, hit of pepper. At work I can microwave water till it boils in a big mug, add anything I want to heat, like the noodles and nuke again, add veggies then nuke again. At the table I dissolve the miso and slurp away.

I answer questions in between my slurps and splashing. ( Japanese cooks find the best compliment to be the most vigorous and loudest slurping) My fellow workers are amazed what I swish in the broth and eat, like left over chicken, more veggies, baked tofu, pork or a crust of bread.

Slurp on people! Miso is what you make it!

[...] DINNER: For dinner I usually have 4 ounces or wild salmon with steamed vegetables and quiona, or a small chicken breast with sauteed kale and quiona. If I eat entirely vegan for dinner, I eat the same quiona bowl variation as suggested for lunch. Some nights I will have salmon sashimi or albacore sashimi from a sushi bar and a bowl of clear soup with mushrooms. I really love having a light dinner and having a filling soup. I usually have vegetable soup or I have this soup. [...]

Socca pizza80twenty12/03/2013 - 3:33 pm

[...] During this time, I pumped my body full of concentrated garlic and botanicals, ate 4 batches of this healing broth in 3 days (really, Laura), listened to audio lectures when I could focus, and caught up on [...]

[...] Wednesday: Cabbage & kale salad and The Soup that Heals [...]

onmybike07/06/2013 - 12:00 am

Absolutely love your site, pics, writing and recipes.

The soup is a particular favourite, nice to see it sso well documented, i’ve been making soup this way for a long time, so quick and easy and soooo good. You describe it so well! Here’s my take on it (plus fresh fish which I adore)

http://2tired2cook.blogspot.co.il/2013/02/sweet-pea-soup.html

Keep up the great work!

Mark30/09/2013 - 1:52 am

This was FABULOUS! But, not enough. I should have noticed it served two… I wanted to eat four servings myself

[…] from The First Mess. Makes 2-3 […]

MARIA MAROVICH11/11/2013 - 6:16 pm

a must make!

Carole18/01/2014 - 1:09 pm

Thank you, can’t wait to make this!

HomemadeMother29/01/2014 - 11:39 pm

Made this tonight and it was soooooo good! Thank you for sharing the recipe!!

[…] A Magic Healing Soup […]

[…] Tree Atlas. 4 // This MONK & LOU Rory Cocoon Blazer from Plen+y. 5 // This vegetable laden Magic Healing Soup from The First Mess. Just YUM. 6 // This Mexican Chocolate Sorbet from The Gouda Life. Try […]

Saskija21/05/2014 - 6:28 am

I’ve made this a few times and it gets better with practice. I didn’t have my usual brown rice miso paste until just last night. I made it for the first time with this ingredient and it really made a difference. So good and healing. Thank you!

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