Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My Love Affair Continues, or Tomato Soup Redux

When we were growing up, tomato soup from a can was not a part of our diet. There was condensed chicken noodle, alphabet vegetable and sometimes - gasp! - Manhattan clam chowder. (The red one.) Of course, there was always cream of mushroom - and I DID wonder how they got cream from mushrooms, until I learned better! - and cream of chicken for cooking. All of these in those familiar red and white cans.

But the fact is, I have NEVER tasted tomato soup from a can! The only memorable tomato soup in my recent experience was from Nico's Pier 38, a diner right by the fish auction house. Nico is French, and I actually dream of his plate lunches with fresh, fresh fish and beautiful greens. The tomato bisque was full of real tomato flavor, and the only caveat is it was also full of rice, albeit blended as the thickener, instead of cream. Lovely taste, though. Today's soup is ginger saffron chicken, which is probably delicious. I also recall a seafood chowder, unfortunately less memorable.

What do you do when your tomatoes are beginning to look a bit tired, and feel a little soft? Back about 6 weeks ago, I made a tomato soup that we ate greedily, that was even better than the entree. I'd found other tomato soup recipes, which sounded yummy, but I was in too much of a hurry to look for them. So I made this tomato soup by instinct, and by vaguely recalling those other recipes.

Even MORE delicious Tomato Soup
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion, in chunks
  • 1/2 large carrot, in chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 large tomatoes - about 4 cups, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup chicken broth plus 1/2 cup (see below)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1-inch cube fresh ginger
  • 1/2 package powdered coconut milk, dissolved in 1/2 cup chicken broth
Process the onion, carrot and garlic in food processor until fine. If you don't have a food processor, you can dice the vegetables, and mince the garlic by hand. Saute these in the butter for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and spices and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth and ginger, stir and heat through. Add the broth with coconut milk until heated. Carefully blend with immersion blender. Add salt, adjust spices and thin if necessary. Enjoy with lots of cilantro.

It may be that all you'll need is some crusty bread and butter to complete the meal. And a glass of wine!

A former coworker has been to culinary school,  and has worked as a cook. I asked him whether he made soup. Rather dismissively, he told me that good soup is based on good stock. Like a friend's husband who also went to cooking school, they believe in cooking the heck out of a chicken, beef bones or vegetables for hours for stock. But home cooks like us can't afford to throw away the now-tasteless chicken and vegetables. I believe you don't need to do this, and have made delicious soups from water, wine, fresh vegetables, even leftovers. If your ingredients are fresh and wonderful, your soup will be!

Soup Of The Evening
Lewis Carroll, from Alice in Wonderland
Beautiful Soup, so rich and green,
Waiting in a hot tureen!
Who for such dainties would not stoop?
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!
Beau - ootiful Soo - oop!
Beau - ootiful Soo - oop!
Soo - oop of the e - e - evening,
Beautiful, beautiful Soup!
Beautiful Soup! Who cares for fish,
Game, or any other dish?
Who would not give all else for two p
ennyworth only of beautiful Soup?
Pennyworth only of beautiful Soup?
Beau - ootiful Soo - oop!
Beau - ootiful Soo - oop!
Soo - oop of the e - e - evening,
Beautiful, beautiful Soup!

I LOVE soup! Tell me what soup you love or make?

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