Chinese Winter Soup

Though called a winter soup, it could be served anytime of the eyar. In the spring, add pea greens or snow peas shortly before serving.

1 lb. (450g) tofu or salt pork
2 tbsp. Peanut oil
1 small pod red chili pepper
¼ lb. (110g) Shiitake mushrooms
6 cups (1 ½ litres) water
28 chestnuts
2 medium parsnips
2 medium turnips
2 leeks
1 small winter squash
1 Tablespoon
soy sauce to taste
2 tbsp. Fresh cilantro

Chop the tofu or pork into squares and brown in peanut oil in the bottom soup pot. Cut the chili pepper in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Add the pepper to the pot. Slice the mushrooms and sauté everything together until soft. Add the water and bring to a boil. If using fresh chestnuts, have them roasted and peeled before hand. Dried peeled chestnuts can be used, but must be soaked overnight. Add the chestnuts to the soup. Chop the parsnips, turnips and leeks and add to the soup. Peel, seed and chop the winter squash into bite size squares and add to the pot, until the vegetables are just tender. Add soy sauce to taste and finely chopped cilantro. Serve with noodles or steamed Chinese buns.

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