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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Ginny Hartzler said...

It looks divine. Great with a grilled cheese beside it! This is the first time I have ever heard of harissa.

Angie's Recipes said...

Cilantro cream is such a fine touch. The soup must be very tasty!
Wish you a wonderful weekend, Mary.

Diane said...

Thanks so much for the link, I appreciate it. We have tried a couple of the other Moroccan soups which have all been fantastic. This one will be next on my list. Thanks for tracking this one down. There are some amazing flavours in Morocco :-) Have a wonderful weekend Diane

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

It sounds like a soup I would really enjoy Mary. Bookmarked.

Alicia Foodycat said...

I love the sound of the flavours in these!

Kim said...

Just received about 10 centimeters of snow, does it cound for a big snowfall???? Because I would really love this soup!

Sprigs of Rosemary said...

I love jazzed up tomato soups. I checked the harissa recipe and I happen to have everything in the pantry. Might be a great Saturday afternoon thing. And thanks for following up with me about using fresh jalapenos in the Super Bowl dip you posted. I used both! And the dip was great.

Gwen said...

What a wonderful twist on tomato soup! I'll have to try this. It's pretty warm here in Phoenix but today it is drizzling out so now's my chance to make some soup.

From the Kitchen said...

I think I'll pass this recipe on to my son and his wife in Providence, R.I.. They are preparing to dig out from 34 inches of snow!!


Joanne said...

I am always so intrigued by dishes with harissa in them! It's a favorite of mine! Great soup.

France@beyondthepeel said...

I love the idea of whipping the cream a little then adding the cilantro and the harissa sounds delightful. Actually I love all the flavors here.

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