soup is good; good soup ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

12 March 2008

soup is good; good soup

This whole daylight savings thing is killing me. Today I actually BOUGHT COFFEE. Well, really I had a gift card I've been saving for horrible and/or extremely tired days, so I used that. Still. We have free (albeit bad) coffee at work, and I usually don't even drink that. Buying a cup of coffee? That is desperate.

The exhaustion doesn't seem to be keeping me from staying up late, however, or from starting to cook dinner at 8 pm after spending an hour mucking around the internet looking for a particular recipe for peanut soup I found once. Of course I couldn't find it again. I did find some other excellent ideas, though, and ended up improvising this business:

Tomato-peanut soup with roasty cauliflower

peanut oil
half a yellow onion
a shallot
coriander, turmeric, salt
tomato puree
veg broth
peanut butter
roasted peanuts

Chop up some onion and shallot. If you don't have shallots, you can use a whole onion. Or use a red onion. Or use two shallots. Whatever. Heat up a fairly wide pot, warm a little peanut oil, and throw in the onions. Add some coriander and a little turmeric, plus whatever other curry spices you like. Garam masala would be good. Cook on medium until the onions are limp and golden.

In the meantime, get out some tomatoes and start chopping them into rough chunks. I used four or five canned whole plum tomatoes, since it is definitely not tomato season. Add the tomatoes to the onions and cook until reduced. This can take a while; expect at least ten minutes. If you're impatient, cut the chunks smaller; they'll take less time then.

If you don't have vegetable broth, now is a good time to make some. Fill a pot with water, add your onion and shallot scrapings (plus whatever other stocky bits you might have in the freezer), and simmer covered. Also, prep the cauliflower for roasting: cut half a head (or however much) cauliflower into florets, toss with a little peanut or olive oil, and deposit in a baking dish. Set it aside, but preheat the oven to 450F.

When the tomatoes are reduced and the broth has achieved some color, add a few cups of hot broth to your main pan. Add some tomato puree as well. Salt the soup, stir it up, and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for about ten minutes. Then add a couple big spoonfuls of smooth peanut butter, plus whatever broth you might need to correct texture. Stir it all up and simmer another five minutes or so.

During the final simmer, stick the pan of cauliflower into the oven to roast. Check after about five minutes; if it's not getting golden brown yet, feel free to turn the heat up a little. It shouldn't take more than ten minutes to achieve this:

When everything is done, take your soup pot off the heat. If you want puréed soup, now is the time to do it. I used the immersion blender.

Put soup in bowls, add chopped peanuts and cauliflower pieces, and eat.

This soup would really like a big plate of hot naan on the side, and maybe a dark green. It made me think about collards and chard, neither of which we had. Well. Next time I can be ready.

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