Monday, March 5, 2012

Gingered Tomato Soup

What do you do when you crave tomato soup but tomato season is still far away? You make soup with canned tomatoes and then surprise yourself with how good it tastes way beyond your expectations. This is try 2.. My first attempt was not worth writing about.

1 large red onion chopped into 1/2 inch thick slices.
3 15 oz cans of tomatoes (whole, diced, any kind)
2 tsp of olive oil
4 - 6 cups of water
1 tbsp  chopped ginger
2 Thai peppers
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste.

Really all you need are the tomatoes and the onions and a lot of patience. The recipe is all in the technique. 
First you need to caramelize the onions.
Film a large non reactive stockpot with the oil and heat on medium. Add the onions and stir to coat. Close the lid and cook for about 15 minutes stirring occasionally. 

Open the tomato cans and drain the tomatoes, reserving the juice.

Reduce the flame to low and remove the lid. If you want a gingered soup add the ginger and the peppers at this point. Lightly salt the onions.  Keep cooking the onions , stirring occasionally until they are golden brown and caramelized.  Do this for another 15-20 minutes until you feel all the moisture has evaporated and you can't prevent the onions from sticking.
 Now add the drained tomatoes, increase the heat to medium and 'roast' the tomatoes in the stockpot stirring now and then. The tomatoes will turn a couple of shades darker and break down. This took about 15 more minutes on the stove. Take off  the heat and cool a little.

Now blend the tomato mixture to a smooth puree (blender, immersion blender whatever). Add the reserved tomato juice and   2 cups of water and heat it to medium. Taste the soup, add more water if  necessary. Bring to a boil. Season it with  salt and pepper. 

Serve immediately. You can also snip some  fresh herbs on top or swirl some Earth Balance  butter or coconut cream or do all three.

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