I guess I should probably make a clarification on the title here — “spicy” really means “as spicy as you want to make it.” (This may have been evident already by the “Totally Customizable” part of the title, but, y’know…) I know some people don’t love spice, and I’m cool with that. I also know that some people like to basically light their face on fire with hot sauce and claim it’s delicious. Personally, I like a little spice, but not the amount where it feels like you’ve rubbed cayenne pepper all over your body. (That sounds itchy.)
When I decided that I’d like to master some new recipes, I knew that this endeavor would include a recipe for tomato soup. I love me some tomato soup with grilled cheese. I especially like that having tomato soup allows you to consume a childhood staple (namely bread + cheese + butter) while still acting like you’re having a semi-gourmet meal. I mean, you could totally make this for guests and not be ashamed by it. On that note — this recipe is great to make for guests. It’s way easy, makes a bunch of soup, and it’s delicious. (I mean, really, would I give you guys a recipe that I thought was terrible? Well, yes. But I totally explained that.) Oh yeah, and this soup is so easy to customize for picky appetites — you can make it gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, whatever you want.
Spicy Tomato Soup
(serves 4-6, generously)
- 4 tbsp. butter/olive oil/coconut oil (your choice — I used butter)
- 1 1/2 medium yellow onions, diced
- 1 tsp salt, plus more to taste (I used coarse sea salt)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 3 tsp curry powder*
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes*
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/4 cup flour
- 32 oz chicken stock/veggie stock/water (your choice — I used chicken stock)
- 2 28oz cans whole peeled tomatoes in juice (I used regular unsalted, but fire roasted and/or salted would be good here too. I recommend using San Marzano tomatoes if you can find them.)
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1-2 cups whole milk/half and half/cream or 1 can coconut milk (add this to taste — I used about 1 cup of half and half in mine)
- Heat oil or melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add diced onions and salt, then saute until very fragrant and translucent, about 10 minutes.
- Add in cumin, coriander, curry powder and red pepper flakes, and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add in tomato paste and flour, stirring until well-incorporated, about 1 minute.
- Add in stock or water, thyme, and tomatoes, breaking up tomatoes with your hands or the back of a spoon.
- Turn up the heat to high, bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
- Using a hand blender, blend soup to desired consistency (you can also use a regular blender for this step, just make sure cover the top with a towel to let the heat escape, otherwise it will blow the top off and you’ll have a big ol’ mess).
- Add milk/cream/coconut milk and salt to taste.
- *The Spice Factor: For a less spicy soup, use mild curry powder. For more spicy, you can use a combination of mild and hot curry powder (I used 1 tsp hot, 2 tsp mild in mine). To make the soup even less spicy, omit the red pepper flakes and just use regular ground pepper here.
- To Make Soup Gluten Free: omit the flour in step 3.
- To Make Soup Vegetarian: use veggie stock or water, rather than chicken stock.
- To Make Soup Vegan: use olive oil or coconut oil instead of butter; use veggie stock or water rather than chicken stock; use coconut milk rather than milk or cream.
- The Dairy/Coconut Milk Part: You can always omit the milk/cream/coconut milk altogether for a more traditional, straight-up tomato soup. (To make it way traditional, omit the cumin, coriander, curry, and red pepper as well, add in 1/2 tsp ground black pepper.)
- Acidity Issues: If you find the soup to be too acidic, add in 1-2 diced carrots in step 1 with the onions — this will help cut down on the acidity. You can also add sugar to cut down on the acid as well.
- Grilled cheese (I used sourdough + cheddar for mine, but feel free to get creative. Multigrain + swiss? YUM. Sweet baguette + pepper jack? Delicious. Olive bread + goat cheese? OMG I can’t even deal.)
- Grilled cheese croutons (make grilled cheese, cut it into crouton-size squares — aren’t you fancy).
- Croutons (cut up bread into cubes, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, bake at 400° until crispy — 8-10 min).
- Whatever your little heart desires.