Southeast Meets West

December 7, 2011

At first glance, this recipe looked like a healthy, vegetarian meal.  Great dish for a Meatless Monday

At second glance, I questioned if Paula Deen got her her hot little hands on the original recipe. I mean, vegetable oil for frying and 11 TABLESPOONS of butter?!?  Since when did Paula start fixing tofu???

After I got over the amount of oil and butter in the recipe, I realized it looked like a great dish with a lot of yummy flavors, so I may as well give it a shot.  I tweaked it a bit with the addition of green bell pepper, decreased the amount of serranos (I mean, eight?!? I guess Bobby Flay got his hands on this, too) and I lessened the amount of butter, reflected below.  I just can’t consciously tell people to put 11 tablespoons of butter in their food. 

It turned out to be an extremely flavorful dish that I will definitely make again.  I hope you enjoy it just as much as  we did!

Black Pepper Tofu

  • 1 3/4 lbs firm tofu
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 stick  of butter
  • 12 small shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 serrano chili, thinly sliced
  • 12 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
  • 3 tbsp sweet soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 4 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp black pepper
  • 16 small and thin green onions, cut into 1 1/4-inch segments
  • I green bell pepper, julienned

Start with the tofu. Pour enough oil into a large frying pan or wok to come 1/4 inch up the sides and heat. Cut the tofu into large cubes, about 1 x 1 inch, then add to the hot oil. (You’ll need to fry the tofu pieces in a few batches so they don’t stew in the pan.) Fry, turning them around as you go, until they are golden all over. As they are cooked, transfer them onto paper towels.

Remove the oil and any sediment from the pan, then put the butter inside and melt it. Add the shallots, chiles, garlic and ginger. Sauté on low to medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the ingredients have turned shiny and are totally soft. Next, add the soy sauces and sugar and stir, then add the black pepper.

Add the tofu to warm it up in the sauce for about a minute. Finally, stir in the green onions and green bell pepper. Serve hot, with Jasmine rice.

This is by far, the best Chicken Noodle Soup I’ve ever had in my life.  Jim thinks so too.  I don’t know what I’ve done in the past that’s made mine a bit on the bland side, however, I think the addition of lemon pepper seasoning to the stock is genius.  Also, I prefer organic carrots.  They are much more tender and sweet and aren’t much more expensive than the “regular” carrots at the Farmer’s Market.  Whole wheat egg noodles make it a little healthier, and if I have a lemon around, I’ll squeeze the juice of one into the finished soup at the end.  The citrus has special healing powers and if I’m making this for someone  under the weather, I feel it helps to get them on the mend that much quicker. 

Tip:  I like to make a bit extra so I have fresh broth for later in the week.  This Thursday, for instance, I’ll use the stock in my Thanksgiving Stuffing. 

Chicken Noodle Soup

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

Stock:

  • 1 (2 1/2 to 3-pound) fryer chicken, cut up
  • 3 1/2 quarts water
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 4 bay leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Soup:

  • 2 cups sliced organic
  • 2 cups sliced celery, with leafy green tops
  • 2 1/2 cups uncooked wheat egg noodles
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1/3 cup cooking sherry
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan, optional
  • 3/4 cup half and half, optional
  • Seasoning salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

For the stock: add all ingredients to a soup pot. Cook until chicken is tender, about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and set aside to cool. Remove and discard bay leaves and onion. You should have approximately 3 quarts of stock. When chicken is cool enough to touch, pick bones clean, discarding bones, skin, and cartilage. Set chicken aside.

For the soup: bring stock back to a boil, add carrots, and cook for 3 minutes. Add celery and continue to cook for 5 to 10 minutes. Add egg noodles and cook according to directions on package. When noodles are done, add chicken, mushrooms, parsley, sherry and rosemary. Add Parmesan and cream. Cook for another 2 minutes. Adjust seasoning, if needed, by adding seasoning salt and pepper. If using fresh lemon, now’s the time to squeeze in the juice.  

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