With the first real snowfall yesterday, the season of winter is effectively upon us. I really enjoy eating soup when it’s cold, but this can be somewhat challenging as a vegetarian, since even “vegetable” soups are often made with either chicken or beef stocks.
Fortunately, making your own soup is actually pretty easy to do and doesn’t take very long. You can store it in your refrigerator to have soup for a few days, even.
Here’s how I make it!
Altogether, this takes about an hour, though roughly half of that time is spent waiting while the soup simmers.
“Fauxen”, a portmanteau of “faux chicken”, can be pronounced however you damn well feel like pronouncing it. Some suggestions: “FAW-ken”, “FO-enn”, “FAWKS-en”.
I cheat a little bit. I use a bouillon for the base. Specifically, Better than Bouillon, “chicken” flavor. It’s actually vegetarian, though the instructions for the soup on the label suggest adding chicken. My recipe here is a slightly modified version of their recipe.
You will need:
- 1 Celery Stalk (If you really like savory flavors, you can use 2 stalks of celery; this will make it a bit bold.)
- 1 Carrot (or a handful of baby carrots)
- 1 Onion
- 3 Tbsp Better than Bouillon, chicken flavor
- 1 brick of Tofu
- 1 cup of noodles (Egg, spirals, alphabet, whatever)
- vegetable / canola oil
- Thyme, Turmeric, Coriander (powdered, ground, or fresh if you’re
- 2.5 quarts (aka “10 cups”) of water
You’ll also need a frying pan (8-10″ diameter; big enough for the tofu), and a stock pot, ideally with a lid and/or very tall sides.
Start the Broth
Melissa taught me how to make a really solid soup base:
- Chop the celery, carrot, and onion.
- Pour some oil into the stock pot (a few Tbsp, I guess, if you’re going to be all demandy about amounts) and toss in the chopped vegetables.
- Put the lid on the pot, if you have one, and let this cook for about 5 or 10 minutes on medium heat. This helps the flavor bloom.
- Add the 2.5 quarts (“10 cups”) of water to the pot and turn the heat up a little higher. (Stir it to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom)
- Add 3 Tbsp of Better Than Bouillon (chicken flavor) to the pot.
- Add the noodles.
When the stock reaches a boil, turn it down to low and keep the lid on. While you’re waiting for this, you can prepare the Fauxen.
Release the Fauxen
If you’re used to traditional canned “Chicken Soup”, then you’ll remember that the chicken chunks are tiny cubes. Using Tofu is a natural fit, if we can season it right. Feel free to experiment with the seasoning; this particular blend was partly picked because it’s what I had available, but it does complement the broth well.
- Start by cubing a brick of Tofu — make the cubes as small as you can manage (1/4″ works well for me).
- Toss the tofu into a frying pan with some oil.
- Once the tofu starts to sizzle and sweat, sprinkle 3/8 tsp of Thyme, and about 1/4 tsp each of both Turmeric and Coriander. Stir or toss it, as necessary.
Cook it until it is adequately browned on the edges, then add it into the stockpot.
- Find something to do for about 20 or 30 minutes while the soup simmers on low.
- Here’s a suggestion: http://gifsound.com
Serve in a bowl, like any soup. It will be hot. Don’t be a hero, get an ice cube or some patience.
Don’t be a soup hipster. Let it become cool before you eat it.
— Aaron H (@aaronmhill) November 25, 2012
The soup re-heats well. Just put some into a small saucepan and heat it up. You can actually add a little bit of water to it without affecting the flavor much.