Spicy Tomato Soup
This is a grown-up version of a classic lunchtime combo, a bowl of tomato soup served with a grilled cheese sandwich. I added some harissa paste to the soup, for a little spiciness, and served each bowl topped with creamy ricotta and some crunchy cheese straws on the side.
Homemade cheese straws couldn't be simpler when you use prepared puff pastry - some grated cheese, a little egg wash, then slice, twist, and bake. Click here for the complete instructions.
To make this soup, you'll need:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion (about 2 medium onions)
- 3 teaspoons freshly ground cumin
- 3 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger root
- 1 teaspoon harissa paste
- 1/4 teaspoon dried chili flakes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- I can of whole tomatoes (700ml)
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
Optional garnish: ricotta cheese & fresh thyme
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over a medium flame, and cook the onion and cumin for a about 3 minutes. The onions should be translucent, but not brown. Add the garlic, ginger, harissa, chili, and tomato paste, and continue to cook, stirring constantly for another minute or two. Pour the canned tomatoes and their juice into a large measuring cup or bowl, and use your hands or a wooden spoon to crush to tomatoes. Add the crushed tomatoes and vegetable stock to your pot, and simmer over low heat for about 20-25 minutes. Stir in the orange zest, and using an immersion blender, purée the mixture until relatively smooth. This is a matter of personal preference, if you'd like a chunkier soup, just blend a little less.
Garnish each bowl with about 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese and a few leaves of fresh thyme.
Harissa is a paste made with roasted red peppers, chilis, garlic, and various spices. It's used a lot in Tunisian and Moroccan cuisine. You can find it in the Imported Food or Gourmet section of most large grocery stores, it's usually sold in a tube or in a small jar. Or you can make it from scratch, click here for the recipe.