As they say on Game of Thrones, winter is coming. In fact, these rainy, cold days make me feel as though winter is even here, despite Thanksgiving being next week.
In Chinese organ theory, winter is the season associated with the Kidney. One of the Kidney's many important functions is to store our qi in order to nourish the body. Winter becomes the time when the food and fruits of our labors that were reaped in the fall are set aside and kept in order to nourish us through the spring.
From a dietary perspective, this is the perfect time of year to eat heavier foods like lamb and beef. These foods nourish the blood and support the constitution. While copious sugary foods and alcoholic beverages are common at this time of year, it is better to balance a combination of these blood-nourishers with lighter vegetables to help balance the digestion. This classic recipe helps with both, incorporating lamb stew meat with the light daikon radish. Daikon helps to reduce inflammation, is high in vitamin C to boost the immune system, and is high fiber to help facilitate weight loss. If you are unable to find daikon radish at your local grocery store, it can be found at most Asian markets, or you can substitute another root vegetable like turnip or rutabaga.
Lamb & Daikon Soup
1 lb lamb stew meat, lightly salted
1 TBSP cooking fat (ghee, coconut oil, or other solid fat of choice is best)
1-2 lbs daikon radish, cubed
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp grated ginger
4 C broth or water
1/4 C packed cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste (omit pepper for AIP)
Other herbs and spices to taste (star anise, ginseng, astragalus, or anything you have handy that sounds good!)
1. Heat cooking fat in a heavy-bottomed pan. Brown the lamb in batches and set aside.
2. In the same pan, cook the onions, garlic, and ginger until fragrant.
3. Add the daikon, broth, and browned meat, along with some salt and pepper (if using). You can also add any other herbs you are using. Bring to a simmer and let cook for 30-40 minutes.
4. After simmering, taste and add salt to taste. Garnish with the cilantro and serve!
Andrea Lane is a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist, and certified Pilates instructor in Portland, Oregon. Her practice particularly focuses on treating autoimmune disease and reproductive health. She is passionate about maintaining good health through a whole-food diet, mindful movement, and meditation. When she is not practicing, she loves to cook, listen to podcasts, read her way out from under the small mountain of books she's accumulated, and cater to her cats' every whim.