Thursday, January 21, 2010

mushroom tofu soup

Here's another nourishing soup I had made for my mom when I was home for the holidays. This one consisted of crimini mushrooms, tofu, pinto beans, vegetable stock, onions and chopped chives. That's it. So simple. Many food writers talk about the blandness of store bought broth or stock. Or that it tastes a bit musty. I've never noticed that before. I think I add enough other components that that's never an issue. I usually buy the Trader Joe's organic broth and it tastes pretty good to me. Sure, homemade stock is way more nutritionally valuable and flavorful, but many people are not going to chop onions, carrots and celery and simmer for an hour and then strain the liquid through a cheesecloth. Please. People are lazy and want food fast. That's why I really have no problem with ready made stock or broth. If you can just get people to eat a little healthier, that's a big step. Of course, I wouldn't buy the ones that have MSG in them, high fructose corn syrup or even the ones in cans. Your best bet are the organic ones. The bouillon cubes are pretty good, too. Rapunzel is a good brand for that.

Anyway, back to my soup making technique. All I did was chop some onions and add the different components until the soup was thick and flavorful. There are endless variations on this. Any bean, vegetable, spice or herb you have on hand will totally make this soup awesome. Mushrooms are great because they're really easy to prepare. It's best not to wash them because they soak up water like a sponge. Simply remove the stem and wipe any excess dirt from the caps. And really, what's a little dirt anyway? By the way, never eat raw mushrooms. They're not going to kill you, but they're hard for your body to digest. Cooking them breaks down the fungal cell walls and releases more readily acceptable nutrients anyways. Mushrooms have more potassium than bananas, contain selenium, niacin and riboflavin. All awesome nutrients that help boost your immune system, deter cancer cells and fight infection.

Mushroom Tofu Soup

4 cups mushrooms (any will do, I used crimini)
1 block of tofu (drained of water and pressed dry with tea towel)
1 onion (chopped)
1 can pinto beans (drained)
1 12 oz container of veggie broth or stock
2 Tablespoons chopped chives
1/4 cup olive oil
sea salt

Saute chopped onions in a large stock pot over medium heat with a pinch of salt. Cook until onions are soft and translucent. Add mushrooms and cook for about 10 minutes or until the mushrooms have sweated out most of their moisture. Add veggie broth or stock and simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes. Taste test and see if you need to add more salt. Finally, add can of beans and cook just until beans are warm. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with chopped chives.

Serves 4 to 6

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