It was after midnight, and I should have been sleeping. Instead, I was staring at a photo of a bowl of broth with some noodles, and the words “udon with pumpkin miso broth and veggies.” It was posted on Amy’s website, and it was one of her favorite meals during her family’s trip to Japan last spring. It sounded delicious! Several days passed, and I just couldn’t get it out of my head. So yesterday, my mission became this: create a soup with some flavors from the Far East, featuring the fresh little pumpkin I bought last week, because this is pumpkin season, after all. Time to start cooking with the famous squash.
I had no recipe to go on, and no time to peruse cookbooks and websites for inspiration. So, the recipe came together using ingredients that I like best.
The result was just what I had hoped for — something like Asian-style comfort food. This time of year, the air is cool, but not cold, so I wanted a hot bowl of soup but with plenty of fresh flavors to keep it light and bright. If you try this recipe, enjoy the silken texture of the broth… it seems pumpkin and miso were made for each other.
Spicy Pumpkin Miso Soup with Udon
by Stephanie Kunstle
- 2 lb. / 914 g. whole pumpkin
- 2 large shallots (3.5 oz. / 97 g) … where “Asian” meets “fusion”
- 4 oz. / 115 g. sweet white miso
- 4 large carrots, diced
- 4 scallions, sliced thin
- 1-2 red hot chiles (I used Fresno chiles), sliced lengthwise and then into thirds
- 12 oz. / 375 g. udon noodles
- 2 heads of baby bok choy, stalk / leaves sliced lengthwise
- salt and pepper to taste
- olive oil, and butter
- approximately 12 c water
- cilantro leaves
- Slice the pumpkin in half, and scrape out seeds (you can rinse these, let them dry, and roast them with some olive oil and salt for a snack later!). Rub the insides of the pumpkin with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place, cut side down, onto a well oiled baking sheet (I use regular olive oil for this too). Break apart the shallots into their individual cloves, leaving skins on, scatter around the pumpkins, and drizzle with a bit of olive oil.
- Roast pumpkin and shallots at 400 F for about 40 minutes, until a fork slides easily into the pumpkin flesh. After roasting, turn pumpkins over to allow to cool. Scrape out pumpkin from shell, and slide roasted shallots out of skins.
- In a food processor (or a food mill), blend the pumpkin, shallots and miso with 4 cups of water until very smooth.
- In a large stock pot, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter. Add diced carrots, and sauteé over medium heat until they start to become soft, but still keep their bright orange color. Add the sliced scallions, and cook until they wilt.
- Add the pumpkin miso pureé, and add about 8 cups of water. Raise heat to medium high to bring to a boil.
- Add the sliced Fresno chiles, 1 to 2 depending on tolerance for heat! Once the broth has come to a boil, add the udon and baby bok choy. Cook about 8 minutes, until the udon is just done. Salt to taste.
- Serve hot with a generous sprinkling of fresh cilantro leaves, and a favorite pair of chopsticks!