Crates of champagne were popped open, wine was mulled and sake was sipped. But now the feast days are over, we must rein in the appetite (and the spending, too). It’s time to focus on simple, wholesome home cooking to see us through the coldest season: hearty stews and nabe hot pots, rib-sticking casseroles and cassoulets — plus daily doses of steaming-hot miso shiru.

Too often this salty-savory soup is overlooked, served almost as an afterthought along with rice and pickles at the end of a traditional meal. But at its finest, prepared fresh with quality ingredients, miso shiru is one of the supreme dishes in Japanese cuisine, with a heady aroma that can elevate the spirits and a rootsiness that simultaneously grounds and warms the body.

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