Saturday, February 9, 2013
Tomato Soup with Harissa and Cilantro Cream
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I thought that those of you who have to deal with the remnants of this weekend's record snowfall, might like a recipe for a hot and steaming soup that's guaranteed to warm the cockles of your heart. This soup is Moroccan and it's best described as a light tomato broth that's given a huge flavor boost with the addition of harissa, a North African chili paste. Harissa is not for the faint of heart. The amount used in this recipe causes a pleasant warmth at the back of the throat, but over-zealous use of the paste can take your taste buds out for a week. I use a commercial variety, but if you'd like to make your own, a nice recipe for it can be found here. While I use harissa with some regularity, I've only just discovered this soup, and had it not been for a photo I saw on, My Life in the Charente, a blog written by my cyber-friend Diane, I might never have known of its existence. That would have been a shame because this light and versatile soup is really delicious. Served in small bowls, it is a perfect way to start a fancy dinner. When poured, instead, into mugs, you'll have a great game day sipper. I love the soup, and served with or without the cream topper, I think you'll find it to be a marvelous addition to your recipe collection. I found the recipe for this soup on the Muslim Aid site. Here's how they suggest the soup be made.
Tomato Soup with Harissa and Cilantro Cream...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Muslim Aid Society
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound yellow onions, about 2 cups chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
4 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons harissa
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 (14.5-oz.) cans chopped plum tomatoes in tomato juice
1 tablespoon grated or finely chopped fresh ginger
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
7 to 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro + cilantro sprigs for garnish
Optional: naan bread
1) Heat oil in a saucepan and cook onions gently for 5 minutes or until soft but not browned. Add garlic and cumin cook for 30 seconds then add harissa and tomato paste and cook for 1 minute longer. Add tomatoes, ginger, sugar and chicken broth. Season and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and gently simmer for 20 minutes longer. Allow mixture to cool a little. W
Working in batches, process soup in a blender until smooth. Alternatively, puree soup in pot with an immersion blender. Strain soup through a fine mesh sieve. Return soup to pan and bring to a boil. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm.
2) Lightly whip cream and fold in cilantro. Season to taste with salt. To serve, spoon about 2 tablespoons cream on top of soup and garnish with cilantro sprigs. Yield: 8 servings.
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