Miso Meets Meat

Two first place winners in the “Miso Meets Meat “ recipe contest, sponsored by the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board (WSMB), have each been awarded $1,000 prizes. Consumers and foodservice professionals alike shared their best recipes featuring miso (fermented soybean paste) that is prized in traditional Asian cuisine for its umami (savory) flavor that complements the flavors of meat, poultry and seafood.

Lori Rukstales of Roberts, WI, created the first place consumer category recipe for Miso Peanut Bacon Burgers. In the professional category, culinary professional/writer Beth Crave of Waterloo, WI, took first place honors with her Miso Stewed Beef French Dip Sandwich, incorporating red and white miso paste and served with Gouda cheese on rustic French bread. At the table, sandwiches are dipped in individual bowls of strained, flavorful stewing liquid before they’re eaten.

Winner Lori Rukstales says, “My thoughts on miso have expanded exponentially. I knew of it as a soup base, but otherwise gave little thought to it. Now that I have tasted it, I can agree that it provides wonderful umami to just about any dish, and it’s not just an Asian ingredient.” She did some outside-the-box thinking with a basic peanut sauce recipe that has long been one of her favorites. “When I tasted how good the miso was with the peanut sauce, it just occurred to me that it might be a great burger topping as well.” She mixes some of the sauce with the ground beef and saves the remainder for topping the burgers. Rukstales serves her Miso Peanut Bacon Burgers on toasted homemade pretzel buns.

Second-place awards of $500 each went to consumer winner Loanne Chiu of Fort Worth, TX, for Miso Pomegranate Chicken, and foodservice professional chef/instructor Michael Watz of Washburne Culinary Institute in Evanston, IL, for Huli Huli Miso-Rubbed Hawaiian Spare Ribs. Lori Rukstales also was awarded the consumer division $250 third place prize for her Asian Chicken Salad recipe. No third place prize was awarded in the foodservice professional category.

All of the winning “Miso Meets Meat” contest entries celebrate the food partnership between the Wisconsin’s soybean farmers and the farmers who raise meats, poultry and seafood. Collectively, these farmers feed not only their communities but also the rest of the nation.

In selecting the winners, contest recipes were prepared by Watertown High School culinary students for tasting and evaluation by a panel of judges. The judges include culinary arts teacher Jolene Massuch of Watertown High School, Watertown School Board president Mark Putra, principal William Loss of Watertown High School and me, Linda Funk, president of Flavorful Insight.

For this contest, the WSMB chose miso as its soy recipe ingredient of choice because it lends a rich, a savory flavor to meaty recipes. Miso also offers health benefits because it is a probiotic food and is high in isoflavones. It can easily be stirred into soups, salad dressings and sauces. Adding a little miso to softened butter or mayonnaise also adds depth and dimension to favorite condiments. Miso is commonly used as a flavoring in Japanese cooking, where it has long been appreciated for its umami (savory) flavor and considered a healthful food.

Visit the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board website at www.wisoybean.org and enjoy the first place winning recipes below:

Miso Peanut Bacon Burgers

Consumer Category Winner
Recipe & Photo by Lori Rukstales
Roberts, WI

  • 1/2 cup white miso paste
  • 3/8 cup peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 16 pieces of cooked bacon
  • 8 hamburger buns

Prepare the sauce; mix the first eight ingredients in a blender until well-blended.

Mix 1/2 cup of the sauce with the ground beef ; form into 8 patties. Reserve the remaining sauce for topping burgers.

Broil/Grill the patties until cooked through, flipping once.

While burgers are cooking, split the buns; toast. Assemble the burgers - one patty and two pieces of bacon per bun, top with a generous dollop of reserved sauce.

Serve immediately.

Miso Stewed Beef French Dip Sandwich

Professional Category Winner
Recipe & Photo by Beth Crave
Waterloo, WI

  • 4 pounds beef roast
  • 4 tablespoons soybean oil
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 10 thumb size slices of fresh ginger
  • ½ cup tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons mirin
  • 1/4 teaspoon curry paste
  • 12 cups unsalted beef stock
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons red miso paste
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons white miso paste
  • 2/3 cup Japanese sake wine
  • 16 slices of rustic French bread
  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 16 thin slices Gouda cheese
  • Ground mustard
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat an oven to 325°F.

Cut the beef into 2-inch pieces. In a large oven-proof saucepan over medium-high heat, add oil. When oil is hot add meat; brown the beef until caramelized on every side, approximately 5 minutes on each side. Remove the beef from the pan; let rest on plate. Add the sliced onions, garlic and ginger to the saucepan; sauté until soft, approximately 7-10 minutes. Return the beef to the saucepan; add tomato paste, soy sauce, mirin and curry powder. Stir frequently until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add in the beef stock, miso paste and sake wine. Stir until the miso paste has completely dissolved.

Cover saucepan; place in the oven for about 3 hours or until the beef is tender, and the liquid has reduced by 1/3.

Carefully remove all the beef, set aside.

Strain the liquid through a very fine sieve/strainer. Press on the solids to extract all the liquid. Discard the solids. Return the beef back into the saucepan along with the strained liquid. Using two forks; shred the beef in the liquid.

Taste the mixture; season with salt and pepper as desired.

To assemble the sandwiches: Pre-heat large skillet to medium heat. Spread butter on one side of each piece bread. Spread a thin layer of mustard on the opposite side of the bread. Place in skillet, butter side down. Place one slice of Gouda cheese on the bread. Pile the shredded beef on the cheese, place another slice of Gouda cheese on the beef. Top with another slice of bread with butter side facing up. Heat until golden brown on each side, about 3-5 minutes each. Repeat steps for remaining sandwiches.

Ladle the remaining liquid of beef mixture into eight soup bowls. Top each bowl with the sliced green onions.

Dip sandwich in liquid to eat.

  • Yields: 8 servings

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