Saturday, April 01, 2006

after the dentist: soup

I originally intended this to be my IMBB entry for the 30-minute meal, but although this soup only takes 30 minutes, it isn't a meal unless you've just been to the dentist (as I had) and the dentist has filed and drilled away at the tooth which is being prepared for a cap. I didn't really want to eat anything else, but fortunately this soup sufficed.
I first ate this soup in a soup-and-sandwich place, the Emporium, in Yellow Springs, Ohio, when I was there for the Antioch Writers Workshop the summer before last. It was one of the 4 soups of the day, Jamaican Tomato Soup, and alongside the name there was a card listing the ingredients. I liked it so much that I tried to get the actual recipe, but the cashier didn't know where it was and the manager wasn't there, so I wrote down the ingredients and went home and gave it a shot.
What I came up with is the recipe following, and although it isn't quite what I had in Yellow Springs, it's pretty good, and goes well with a grilled cheese and onion sandwich (if you haven't just been to the dentist, when even the slight crunch of the toasty sandwich edge is too chewy).

Spicy Tomato Soup
1-2 onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
a chunk of fresh ginger, chopped or grated
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1/2 tsp mustard seed
1/2 tsp cumin seed
1 can crushed tomatoes (the size that's abt 32 oz)
1 6 oz can tomato paste
About 4 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Juice of one orange
Zest of same orange, grated or chopped
A good pinch of salt (or to taste)
Sugar to taste

I saute the first 6 ingredients until the onions look done (somewhat translucent), then add the tomatoes. (You can just as well use an equivalent amount of whole canned tomatoes chopped in the food processor). Add the tomato paste and broth, and bring to a boil, stirring to incorporate the paste. Add the orange juice and zest (this time I used a blood orange since I happened to have it

--it made the soup a little redder, but otherwise didn't make much difference. It was a lovely color in the squeezer though.).
Let everything simmer for a few minutes, and then taste before adding salt. The sugar is optional and depends on your personal taste and the sweetness of the tomatoes. I usually add about a tablespoon. I used my new hand blender on it when it was done--you don't have to, but it gives it a nice part-smooth/part-chunky texture.
The resulting soup is tomato-ey, a little spicy (you can up the pepper hit, or if you're not a fan of hot, reduce it), has the tang of orange, and a sunny, happy feel in your mouth. Guaranteed to require no chewing.
In the interests of transparency, I have to add that we never eat our soup out of martini glasses. But my actual soup bowl, a much-loved plastic bowl in a muddy yellow print (I think it's Melmac, and about 50 hard-using years old), is not at all photogenic.


song said...

wow, i can't wait to try this. I am on a big spicey/chilli kick atm and I am looking for some soups to make and freeze.

lucette said...

Let me know how it turns out.

kitchen hand said...

I'm going to make that as well, it sounds great.