Have you seen Portlandia? The silly IFC show that mocks hipsters in Portland, OR? It’s weird and funny and sometimes way out of left field, but when it hits it, it hits it right. One of the more famous sketches is “Put a Bird On It!” Because, you know, that’s what those crazy hipsters be doing out in Williamsburg and Nashville and Portland, is taking any old random-ass thing and putting a bird on it and calling it art.
Yet it was with a conflicted heart when I realized that, should my life ever become the basis for a self-contained parody sketch show a la Portlandia (in which, of course, hilarity will always ensue), that it would have to be titled “Poach an Egg In It!” Because I think when it comes to any broth based soup I have a problem, and that problem is a minor obsession with adding a poached egg. I just can’t stop myself.
It doesn’t help that being it’s January and all, I’ve been making a lot of soup. It’s so easy and cheap and quick to prepare, and The Big Man and I have both waging war on the battleground of Operation Flu Season. Our fridge has seen a constant rotation of soup, all of which I find some way to add an egg to.
My personal favorite soup as of late? This shiitake mushroom and miso soup. With a poached egg, obvi. Because the Big Man hates mushrooms so there’s more for me, and everything tastes better with a little miso paste, and I can poach an egg in it. Hilarity.
Note: To make shiitake stock, I save shiitake (and other mushroom) stems until I have a fat sandwich bag full. I keep the sandwich bag in the freezer. Then, I bring about 2 cups of water to a simmer and add the stems and cook till reduced by about an inch, and the broth is very brown. Sometimes I throw leftover shrimp shells in with the stems (I hoard the shells and stems and other stock-making detritus in the freezer until ready to use) This is a cheap and easy version of dashi, the stock that is the basis for miso soup and other asian-style broths.
- 1 tablespoon red miso paste
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1/2 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 1 1/2 cup shiitake or vegetable stock
- 1 egg
Mix the miso paste and sesame oil together at the bottom of a pot with a fork until combined. Cook over medium heat until very fragrant, about 2 or 3 minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms and 2 tablespoons of the stock and deglaze the pan, scraping any bits up off the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Once the mushrooms have started to soften, add the rest of the stock and lower the heat to a simmer.
Let the soup reduce for maybe five minutes- it should go down by about half an inch. Crack the egg into a ladle or a small bowl and carefully lower it into the simmering soup. Let the egg poach until the whites have set but the yolk is still soft. Carefully remove the poached egg with a ladle or a large spoon, and set aside in a bowl. Pour the soup into a bowl and then add back the egg. Serve immediately.