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Transform This Miso-Butternut Soup Into a Sauce for Poached Fish

I am not into meal prepping at all. I partially blame this on the way my mother cooked for my family when I was growing up. She cooked fresh food for every meal, which I now realize was a luxury that I myself cannot afford as an adult working and living in a different country. But while I don't have the time or energy to make every dish from scratch each day, or to prep entire meals for the week ahead, I do lean on mixing up flavorful bases-whether they are masalas for Indian gravy dishes or sauces and soups that I can use multiple ways.

These base sauces freeze well, so I generally double or triple the recipes so that I can be well stocked for the future. I love to experiment with different ways of incorporating these sauces with whatever else I have on hand, and it feels like I'm eating a freshly cooked meal each time I use one-usually only requiring just a few minutes of additional cooking.

This miso butternut soup is a perfect example. You start by cooking some aromatics-such as ginger, garlic and shallots-in oil. Then you'll add miso, peeled and cubed butternut squash, and water or stock, and cook it all until the squash is soft. (If butternut is not your jam, use pumpkin or kabocha squash-but you will need to increase the liquid to attain the desired consistency for the latter.) Then blend the soup until it's silky smooth, and it's ready to rock. The miso adds a sweet-and-salty umami element that pairs well with the creamy butternut squash and warm ginger. The toppings are up to you-I recommend a mix of textures, including fresh herbs like cilantro and scallions, plus your favorite chili crisp and peanuts for crunch.

There's nothing wrong with serving the soup on its own for a couple of meals, but you can also double the recipe and use the leftovers to make a whole new dish. Gently poached cod, for example, is very flaky and absorbs the sauce extremely well. The cod juices mingle with the butternut sauce, adding another layer of flavor. Finished with a hit of lemon juice, it's wonderfully fresh and citrusy. But don't stop there: The base is super versatile, and you could skip the cod and substitute shrimp, tofu, or vegetables like broccoli, potatoes, peas, or spinach. Serve it with rice or crusty bread to mop up all the delicious sauce.

Both of these comforting recipes are easy enough to throw together on a weeknight, for one or for a crowd. Who needs meal prepping when one dish can do so many tricks?


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