This is a late fall soup that’s been warming us up. Outside there’s a bit of snow on the ground, daylight is short, and we spend more time in the kitchen, slow cooking our food. This soup has the warm colors of orange vegetables, flecked with green vegetables. Make a big pot, and I’ll show you some ways that you can brighten its flavor on the second day.
Umami is the fifth taste, after sweet, salty, sour and bitter.
Both the tongue and the stomach have receptors for the taste which can be described as savory or meaty. The umami receptors signal the body to start digesting foods, especially proteins. Umami is an underlying taste that makes everything else in this soup taste more delicious and appetizing. When you make this soup, make a lot, because you are going to have a good appetite! This soup doesn’t use meat or Japanese fish flakes for its basic stock. Instead it relies on plant-based ingredients that are umami-rich: digitata kelp, shiitake mushrooms, and tamari. We use this soup year-round and vary the ingredients according to what is available from our garden and cupboards.
This clear soup is a very fast, very light soup especially good for someone recovering from an illness. As a first course, it leaves plenty of room for the main dishes. Adding a light soup to each meal is an excellent way to add fluids to the diet. This practice also helps to maintain proper weight, by tempering the appetite somewhat. This soup can also be made with alaria rather than soup mix. Just snip a few strips of dried alaria with scissors into the soup pot and proceed as written below.