Shiitake and Tofu Peanut Soup

Shiitake mushrooms have a chewy, hearty texture similar in some respects to meat, but so much more earthy.  The best shiitake mushrooms I’ve ever had have been here in Gainesville.  Leonardo’s 706 offers locally grown teryaki-ginger shiitaki mushrooms appetizer that I highly recommend.  They are savory and chewy and the partial inspiration for this soup.

Many recipes call for dried shiitakes which must be rehydrated (and the liquid is usually saved for the recipe).  With this recipe, I used a base of fresh shiitakes with a light beef broth, peanut butter, teryaki, and ginger to create a deep savory flavor.   The peanut butter also adds a hint of sweetness.  I also threw in some chopped portabella and sliced crimini mushrooms because I had them in the fridge.

Tofu has also popped back up on my list of rediscovered foods.  I use a firm, lite style tofu and squeeze as much excess water as possible out of the tofu “brick” before cooking.  You can also buy cubed super firm tofu to save a step or two.

I like my tofu to have a seared outer layer – no mush.  I’ve been told to place the tofu on a plate between several layer of paper towel, set another plate on top of the tofu, and a can on top of the plate for 15 minutes to press even more water out.  To sear (or create a crust), cook it at a high temperature, add some kind of liquid like Bragg’s or soy sauce with the oil, and try not to push the tofu around too much.

As with most of my recipes, I do not give many specific measurements.  I generally taste as I go and adjust the flavor based on what I like.  I’m a teriyaki and peanut butter fan so I tend to use a bit more in my dishes.  What I’ve listed below is a moderate amount, add your own flare if you desire.

Ingredients:

  • 1 block of firm or extra firm lite tofu, drained and chopped into 1/2″ squares
  • About 1 tsp Coconut oil or another oil that can take high heat
  • 1 leak, white and light green part sliced (cut in half and wash between the layer to remove dirt)
  • Minced garlic to taste
  • Teriyaki or soy sauce to taste
  • 8 cups of beef or vegetable broth
  • Small head of cabbage, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 8 oz. thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms (shiitake mushrooms never touch dirt and do not need to be washed, just brushed off)
  • A dash of ground ginger (about 1/8 of a tsp or to taste)
  • 1 tsp peanut butter
  • 1 cup small egg noodles

Directions:

Cook the tofu: Start by heating the oil in a medium/hot pan.  Add the tofu, leeks, garlic, and a few dashes of teriyaki or soy sauce.  Try not to move the tofu around in the pan too often.  You want it to build up a little crust.  After a few minutes, flip the tofu to sear a different side.  Add more sauce if you desire.  When the tofu is seared, move it to a plate on the side.

Cabbage and stock: Heat 8 cups of broth in a stock pot.  Once the broth is slowly boiling add the cabbage.  Cook the cabbage while preparing the mushrooms.

Noodles: Bring a small pot of water to boil and add thin egg noodles.  Cook until almost tender, drain and set aside.

Mushrooms: Add butter, mushrooms, and a few dashes of teriyaki or soy sauce to the skillet you just used for tofu and cook until tender and slightly browned.  Add flour and stir well, letting the flour incorporate into the butter and mushroom mixture. It will look a little pasty.  Using a ladle, add some hot stock to the mushroom mixture and stir well.  The flour should combine to create an creamy sauce.  Add ginger and peanut butter, letting it melt, to the mixture and cook for several minutes.  If the mushrooms get too dry, add more hot stock.

Putting it together: Once the mushrooms are done, add the mushroom mixture and egg noodles to the stock pot with broth.  Stir well and season with soy, teryaki, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper to taste.  Bring the soup to a slow boil for several minutes to let the flavors mesh.

Serve in a bowl and place tofu on top of the soup.  Do not add to the soup before hand, it will get soggy.

This recipe was created by Jen Marvin.  Please ask permission or give proper credit if reprinting or using this recipe or reproducing the photos.  Thank you.

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