Friday, February 25, 2011

Sicky Stew

I made this soup for C when he was suffering from one of the many viruses that run rampant every winter. As an educator, he is particularly prone, and his last bout with the flu was particularly long and unpleasant. I've been meaning to take his immune system aside and have a little heart to heart with it because it doesn't quite seem to have the right idea about how viruses should manifest. I am almost never sick for more than three days, and I pretty much always experience sickness in the same general pattern. Day one: headache, chills, aches, swollen glands. Day two: sinus congestion, sneezing, watery eyes. Day three: runny nose and cough. C, on the other hand, experiences these symptoms randomly, in no particular order, and they frequently last for days and days at a time with no sign of abatement. Or worse, yet, and this is what happened with the last, pernicious virus, the symptoms will dramatically decrease or even vanish for several days only to emerge again more violently than before. It's just wrong, dear reader. Just wrong. If you find yourself caring for the similarly afflicted, or you just want an easy, rocking, and protein-rich stew, try this one.

This stew was a hit with C, and like all soup, tends to improve with age. It really is a basic miso soup with the garlic and ginger bumped up to fight off the bugs and a healthy amount of tofu to make it heartier. The result is rich and thicker than you might assume. I love adding kale to soups, so the next time I make this I might add some shredded lacinato in place of the wakame. As with all miso soups, though, remember not to bring it to a boil to preserve the probiotic qualities of the miso.

Miso Tofu Stew

2 T olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced (or more or less depending on level of sickness and tolerance for garlic)
1 2" piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 package extra firm tofu (water-packed)
dried wakame--I used about half of a 1.76 oz package
3 c water
miso--I used sweet white miso, but I think chickpea would also be great.

Saute garlic and ginger in the oil until fragrant. Stir in tofu and add water. Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat. When the water is very hot but no longer boiling, stir in about 2 T miso and dissolve. Let the soup cook for about ten minutes, not boiling. The tofu will soak up some of the broth. Check the flavor. Add a bit more miso if want it stronger, a bit more water if you find it too strong. When all the miso is dissolved, and you're satisfied with the flavor, stir in the dried wakame. Cook five minutes more.

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