Not Chicken Soup – Anna Jones

I love this recipe from The Modern Cooks Year by Anna Jones and I make it a lot. It always feels comforting and restorative and is particularly great if you’re under the weather, had a bad day or fighting off winter colds and chills.

Tofu is a good source of protein for vegans, as well as containing minerals such as iron and calcium. Choose organic tofu to avoid it being genetically modified.

A vegetarian soup for the soul…

Serves 4

Olive oil
1 medium onion, quartered and thinly sliced
1 leek, finely sliced
3 bulbs of fennel, trimmed and finely sliced, fronds reserved
3 celery stalks, chopped into 1cm pieces, leaves reserved
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped into 1cm pieces
8 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tbsp ginger, peeled and grated
1 lemon
1 tsp whole white peppercorns, plus more to taste
200g firm tofu, sliced into roughly 1cm sticks
3 tbsp tamari sauce

1 Heat a little olive oil in a large soup pot over a medium heat. Add the onion, leek, fennel, celery and carrot, then turn the heat down to low and cook gently for 20-30 minutes, or until everything is soft and sweet, without browning too much. Keep a little jug of water close to the pan and add a splash of water if it looks like it’s going to stick.

2 Add the garlic and ginger, cook for another couple of minutes, then squeeze in the juice of the lemon.

3 Add the peppercorns and 2 litres of water, plus a good pinch of sea salt (or you can use vegetable stock if you want a fuller flavoured soup). Bring to the boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

4 Meanwhile, toss the tofu in 2 tbsp tamari sauce. Heat a pan with a little olive oil and fry until crisp. Once the tofu is golden and crispy, add the final tablespoon of tamari sauce and toss quickly in the hot pan: the soy should stick to the tofu and give it a rich stickiness. Remove from the heat.

5 Your soup should now be about ready. Ladle the soup into shallow bowls and top with the tofu