Okay, okay…I know it’s summertime. But San Francisco summers take a bit of time to warm up and I’ll have a good bowl of soup any day!

I had a version of this soup at a local Japanese restaurant and wanted to recreate it. The original version had big, lovely chunks of pork belly, carrots (along with other vegetables) it in and probably a darker miso.

I wanted to lighten it up a bit and have a habit of putting all soups in the blender – I love the creaminess and it’s a fun way to hide vegetables from certain people in my life who think they don’t like vegetables.I’ve also simplified the ingredients. I think I can officially call this my own now.

After a couple of versions, I’ve fallen in love with this soup. The ingredients are so simple, and it’s incredibly low maintenance. Quick sauté, simmer, blend & done (technically, you can even skip the blend – but I like to do an easy rough chop on the veg and let the blender do the work.)

As always, I’m using avocado oil…it’s great over high heat, has lots of healthy fats, and is a lovely neutral base for almost anything. Make sure it’s nice and hot, almost smoking, before adding the bacon, leeks, carrots and garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and let everything get a soft and well coated in the lovely bacon fat. If you like a little spice, add a little cayenne or pepper flakes into the mix.

Add the chicken (or dashi, or vegetable – do you) stock, cover, and bring to a boil.

Did you know that when you cover your pot while you’re heating up soup (or whatever) it actually boils faster than it would uncovered? Something about vapor pressure – I don’t know – my husband likes science and he’s been proven right on this one. We did an experiment; my house is weird.

So, anyway, once the soup has boiled remove the lid and bring it down to a simmer for about 15 minutes, then turn off the heat.

Put the miso into a medium sized bowl and pour a couple ladles of broth over it. I try to get the clearest broth I can, avoiding chunks of bacon and veg…but it’s not a bit deal if a couple slip in. Whisk well until all the miso chunks are dissolved.

In a traditional miso soup, I’d pour the miso mix over a strainer to make sure there were no salty chunks in the soup. But for this one, you don’t have to be quite that careful, the blender erases all sins.

When you’re ready to serve, pour the soup and miso mixture into the blender. The soup can sit on the stove for a bit and be reheated, but it’s best not to add the miso until the last minute – it’s fermented, which means it has live, active cultures. The texture of the soup is so much better if it’s not brought to a boil.

Miso Soup with Carrots & Bacon

Ingredients

1 t. neutral cooking oil
1 slice bacon, chopped
1/3 c. chopped leeks
1/2 c. diced carrots
1 clove garlic, chopped
salt & pepper
3 c chicken stock
1 T. white miso
1 T. fresh chives, chopped

Instructions

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium high heat, then add bacon, leeks, carrots and garlic with a bit of salt and pepper. Cook until the bacon is a bit crispy and the leeks and garlic are a bit soft, 3-5 minutes.

Add the chicken stock and bring the pot to a boil. Lower the heat and let it simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered. Then turn off the heat.

Put the miso into a medium sized bowl and a pour a couple ladles of broth over the miso. Whisk until the miso is dissolved.

Pour the soup and the miso mixture into a blender and mix until the carrots blend into the broth.

Serve immediately, topped with fresh chives.

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