Some people can be persnickety about the flavour profile of their meals – they want the classics, and they want them to taste classic. Those people yelled at me when I suggested adding miso to stuffing, but I am nothing if not stubborn, and I’m going to keep on talking about how good miso is in pretty much any dish.
Though the fermented soy bean paste is most commonly found in Japanese cuisine, it has a umami-packed, salty, slightly nutty and sweet flavour that is dynamite with turkey, stuffing, squashes, any casserole, and – yes – even pumpkin pie. It adds complexity, salt, sweet nuttiness, and, if you reach for the darker varieties – a bit of funk, without overwhelming the other, more “traditional” flavours in the dish.
Incorporating miso into your meal is as easy as stirring in spoonfuls into the liquid ingredients of whatever you’re making – looking at you, condensed mushroom soup – but we have some very specific ideas, and would (obviously) like to share:
Fruit pies: Add a little glob to butter, custard, or the macerated juices of a fruit pie for a dessert everyone will fight over. (It’s good in pumpkin pie, but it sings in pecan, which is the superior pie anyway.)
Casseroles: Stir a few teaspoons (or get crazy with a tablespoon!) of the darker stuff (red or yellow) into your roux-based sauce, condensed soup, or sour cream before building your casserole.
Any vegan dishes: Miso’s real strength lies in adding savouriness to meat-free meals. The white stuff is gorgeous in mashed potatoes, and miso whisked into olive oil is great on any roasted vegetable, particularly Brussels sprouts and squash. It also makes a superb vegan gravy. (Heck, it’s good in a non-vegan gravy too.)
Turkey: I don’t know if you’ve heard about this bird, but the word is that it’s not super flavourful on its own, and loves a marinade. This three-ingredient miso marinade is my favourite thing to smear on any and every meat, and it’s sweet and salty funk makes for a turkey everyone will want to gobble up.
And obviously, if you’re making soup, such as a creamy carrot, chuck some in there as well.
Miso was literally made for soups.