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Totally Customizable Spicy Tomato Soup

Spicy Tomato Soup 4

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.)

Spicy Tomato Soup 1

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 2

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)
  1. 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.
  2. Add in cumin, coriander, curry powder and red pepper flakes, and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  3. Add in tomato paste and flour, stirring until well-incorporated, about 1 minute.
  4. Add in stock or water, thyme, and tomatoes, breaking up tomatoes with your hands or the back of a spoon.
  5. Turn up the heat to high, bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
  6. 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).
  7. Add  milk/cream/coconut milk and salt to taste.

Spicy Tomato Soup 3Modifications

  1. *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.
  2. To Make Soup Gluten Free: omit the flour in step 3.
  3. To Make Soup Vegetarian: use veggie stock or water, rather than chicken stock.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.)
  6. 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.

Serve With:

  1. 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.)
  2. Grilled cheese croutons (make grilled cheese, cut it into crouton-size squares — aren’t you fancy).
  3. Croutons (cut up bread into cubes, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, bake at 400° until crispy — 8-10 min).
  4. Whatever your little heart desires.

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