Soba with Miso Lamb Ragu


The day started sunny spring bright; the leaves suddenly screen the view of the florescent green plastic playground in the park behind my house, and the woodchuck (-chuckette? and possible future -chuckles?) has made its presence known by beginning a tunnel into the raised bed that will be our tomato garden. Mr. Tess cut the dandelions grass for the first time this year, glad that mower started right up—because he thinks he must have remembered to put [something] into the tank so it wouldn’t be filled with varnish. Then he realized that someone was hungry enough over the winter to nibble the gas line.I’d thought to make a special “welcome home” meal for him, but the two-day migraine put intentions on hold, and the ground lamb bought for this recipe was reaching its sell by: date, so Soba with Miso Lamb Ragu! (a recipe from Hiroko Shimbo’s blog) was on the menu. The few cheerful red-red tulips bravely blooming in the overgrown flower garden, as well as quite a number of fritalaria melagris, which have thrived more on neglect than care, made it seem that this was an appropriate spring meal.

My husband enjoyed the meal, though by the late afternoon the weather
had turned cold, grey, and rainy so a hot nabe would have been more satisfying.
I should have reduced the amount of sugar in the recipe
because I combined Aka miso (red, with barley) and Saikyo miso (sweet white,
sweeter than what the recipe calls for)—even so, I would have liked
the ragu to be quite a bit less sweet. The cilantro and
chard did provide a nice bitterness to contrast
with the sweetness. Also, the recipe says,
“serves 8,” but I’d say that it serves 4,
with a pound of noodles. I think we
wanted a bit more “sauce” than
the recipe is designed for.

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Hiroko’s Mom’s and Sister’s Beef Tongue Stew Asparagus Tsukemono

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