This recipe is adapted from one that appears in Elizabeth Andoh’s terrific cookbook, Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen. She refers to this hearty soup as “a jumble of pork bits, root vegetables, and diced tofu in a miso-thickened broth.” I find this soup soulful and absolutely delightful on a cold winter’s night.
½tsp.canola or other neutral oil
8oz/225gboneless pork loin, trimmed of fat and cut into small, thin strips
1 large leek, about 8oz/225g, white and light green part only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise into half-moons
7oz/200gburdock root, scrubbed, trimmed, and cut on a sharp diagonal into slices ⅛ in/3 mm thick
1 small carrot, about 3oz/85g, trimmed, peeled, and cut into matchsticks
1-in/2.5-cm.chunk daikon radish, about 2oz/55g, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1tsp.kosher or fine sea salt
12-in/30.5-cm. square kombu, wiped lightly on both sides with a damp paper towel (see Cook’s Note)
1 block fresh firm tofu, about 15oz/430g, drained, pressed to release more moisture, and then blotted dry
1 small bunch mitsuba (about 15 stalks), trimmed, stems cut into ½-in/12-mm pieces, and leaves chopped (see Cook’s Note)
In a deep pot, heat the oil over high heat. Add the pork and stir-fry until it begins to color, about 1 minute. Add the leek, burdock root, carrot, and daikon and continue to stir-fry for another minute. Add the salt and sake and continue stir-frying until the burdock root smells fragrant like the woods, about 2 minutes longer.
Add the water and kombu, reduce the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Using a large spoon or a soup skimmer, skim away any froth, and then reduce the heat to maintain a steady, slow simmer. Continue to cook, skimming any froth that comes to the surface, until the vegetables are tender and the pork is thoroughly cooked, about 5 minutes longer. Using tongs, remove and discard the kombu. Add the soy sauce and tofu to the soup and simmer until heated through, about 1 minute longer.
Divide the mitsuba among warmed soup bowls. Just before serving, place the miso in a medium bowl, ladle in some of the hot stock from the pot, stir to mix, and then add the miso mixture to the soup and stir briefly. Ladle the soup into the warmed bowls and serve immediately.