If you know me just barely, you know that I'm summer's biggest fan, and after 20 winters in the Northeast, I still moan and groan over winter's double-whammy: no fresh vegetables in season and freezing temperatures. So today, in frigid Brooklyn, I give you a piece about a hot tomato soup a friend brought back from a recent trip to Egypt. For me, tomato soup is summer food at its best, but a can of quality tomatoes can evoke fond memories of July and August, when the sun shines and the muscles are more relaxed.
My friend Patti Londre is the one who came up with this idea after visiting Egypt in the middle of summer and noticing that blazing hot tomato soup was a staple. This is her recipe, reconstructed in her mind after many bowls in Cairo.
When summer is actually in session and you can make this with freshly picked tomatoes, have it chilled with a warm baguette and soft butter, or eat it blazing hot, like an Egyptian. But for these cold days, a warm soup — quick to prepare, with flavors of warmer months — is all I need.
Egyptian Tomato Soup
1 tablespoon unsalted butter or olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced 1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimiento peppers
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with their juices (or 1 pound fresh tomatoes)
1 (14.5-ounce) can low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth (or 2 cups homemade chicken or vegetable stock)
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 lime cut into wedges
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a large stockpot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the pimientos and tomatoes, cover and cook gently over low heat for 10 minutes. Add the stock, chili powder, and paprika and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Using an immersion blender, puree until almost smooth (or transfer to a food processor or blender and puree). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with fresh lime wedges.