January 6, 2010

Jamaican Tomato Soup


I just have too many cookbooks. I pulled this one out the other day: Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special by The Moosewood Collective. I've always considered it one of my favorite books, but if truth be told, I've only ever tried to make a handful of things (or less). This cookbook concentrates on soups and salads, and is mostly vegetarian (some seafood). I have earmarks throughout, but I haven't actually made most of the recipes that have been marked (shame on me!). I've had the book for more than 10 years, so I really have no excuses. 

Anyway, I revisited this cookbook with a new approach: I've been playing things relatively safe (food-wise), and I want to try some new flavors - things that might not actually have cheese in them (I'm discovering that I may be lactose-intolerant, for one - I'm sure I'll be discussing that at some point, but for now I'm trying to forget...). Ok, new but also familiar - you know? I mean, I did bookmark the "Caribbean Sweet Potato Coconut Soup", and it does sound really good - but lets not get crazy just yet - I mean, the goal is for Picky to at least try it, right? I might have to work up to some of the more interesting recipes...

And that's why I landed on "Jamaican Tomato Soup". Picky already likes tomato soup, although I admit that I don't usually make it - I buy the boxed version - Pacific Natural Foods makes a good roasted red pepper and tomato soup that Picky accepts, so I haven't bothered to come up with my own recipe. There is one other tomato soup that we've tried, at a restaurant nearby, and we all love it - and I have to say that this recipe comes very close to the flavors in that soup, but without all the cream.

Of course, I've modified it a little, because I can't seem to leave things alone...



Jamaican Tomato Soup

  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions (ok, I need to admit something here - I hardly ever measure stuff like this...I figure that 1 medium onion equals about 1 cup chopped...and 2 big glugs of olive oil is about 2 Tbsp - I mean, soup isn't a science, you know?
  • 4 14.5 oz cans of tomato, undrained (the original recipe called for 3 cups fresh and 3 cups canned tomatoes, but it's winter, ok? I realize that boxed tomatoes would probably be better here, considering the stuff they use to make cans, but I haven't made the switch. I'm sure you can figure out the portions if you use something else - just think "6 cups")
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (I surprised myself and actually measured this - it was much less than I thought it would be...)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice (or juice from one big juicy lemon)
  • 1 Tbsp grated orange peel (I zested one large orange)
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (please use flat leaf here...curly parsley isn't really food...)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • ground black pepper to taste

  • chopped fresh basil, parsley, or scallions
  • curried croutons (I didn't do this, but they do have a recipe for it if anyone is interested...)
  • nasturtium blossoms (sounds pretty, but unnecessary...)

  1. Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat, then add the onions and saute for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until translucent.
  2. Add the tomatoes, the basil, sugar, lemon juice, and orange peel, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove 1-2 cups of the tomato mixture and set aside. Add the orange juice, cilantro, parsley, salt, and pepper to the soup pot and puree with an immersion blender (or in a blender in batches) until smooth (be careful here - this tends to splash). Add the reserved tomato mixture for texture, or just use it as a garnish for those who like a little texture (in other words, not Picky).
  4. Serve hot, topped with chopped basil, parsley, or scallions and with Curried Croutons (like I said, I skipped the croutons)
  5. Another variation that worked for me: I added a swirl of half-and-half to Picky's bowl (because I had some in the fridge from some other recipe...). It cut the acidity a bit and made it more palatable to her...

According to the recipe, this is also good cold (in summer, I imagine...).

Picky did try this, and proclaimed it "delicious!", although she then ignored it and ate her quesadilla. But still. I thought it was delicious. And really simple. And I love delicious and simple. She'll come around. At least she didn't say "Yuck!", right? 

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