Tuesday, March 2, 2010

New Week, New IGA Item

For a while now I've been thinking about making this recipe for caramelized tofu from the New York Times, because it sounded so delicious. But even for a candy freak like myself, a cup of sugar in a recipe that serves 4 for dinner seemed like a lot. I considered this recipe with brussel sprouts, and then this one, and came up with an idea for sweet-and-spicy tofu with a little bit of brown sugar, chilli sauce, and some green beans. At the IGA, I picked up a package of Nasoya organic extra-firm tofu, but on my way over to the green beans I got sidetracked by a bin of butternut squash. It was damp and chilly, and suddenly the idea of squash soup (which I've made an awful lot of since October) seemed more appealing than a messy stir fry. The recipe I use, from my husband's book, A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen, includes croutons caramelized with a little sugar and some cinnamon, so in an instant I decided to make the soup, caramelize some tofu cubes in place of the croutons, and this is what we ate:

Butternut Squash Soup with Caramelized Tofu "Croutons"
Serves 6

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 chipotle chile in adobo, finely chopped
1 large butternut squash (3 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
4 1/2 cups water
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
One 14-ounce package of extra-firm tofu, drained, cut into 1-inch cubes, and patted dry
Cilantro leaves for garnish

1. Make the soup: Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and chile and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the squash and then the water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer until the squash is very soft, 25 to 30 minutes. Puree in batches in a blender, or use an immersion blender to puree until smooth, and season with salt.
2. Make the tofu "croutons": Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle the tofu cubes with salt. Heat the remaining vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the tofu and cook, flipping the cubes occasionally, until they are golden on all sides, about 5 minutes. Stir in the brown sugar mixture and cook, stirring gently, until the cubes are coated with the melted sugar, a minute or two.
3. Ladle soup into bowls. Add some tofu to each bowl. Sprinkle with a few cilantro leaves. Serve.


  1. yum.! this looks delicious - i'm off to get some tofu - i've been looking at the squash on the back porch for a couple of days now - time to make it into soup before it really freezes!

  2. I have another squash left over--thinking of making roasted squash gnocchi toassed with some crispy pancetta bits and grated Parmesan. Maybe tomorrow. I do love my bacon. Did I tell you I've committed to 1/4 of a Ludlow pig?.