Tomato, semolina and cilantro soup

October 28, 2012

Tomato, semolina and cilantro soup

Page 130, Ottolenghi

In my continuing quest to use garden tomatoes in a seasonally-appropriate way, this ridiculously comforting soup was a big hit for a lovely Sunday afternoon lunch – especially when paired with a grilled cheese of mimolette on sourdough. I am not sure which made my wife swoon more. Actually, that is a lie. Sorry, Ottolenghi, but it was the grilled cheese that really won her heart. But the soup won mine. Fresh tomatoes, cilantro and lemon juice paired with cumin, coriander, thyme and sweet paprika? I am sold! Then add the semolina that you whisk in at the very end of the cooking process to give it body and substance, and I am over the moon in love. I have only known of semolina as the base of pastas, and this was my first time using it in my cooking. Super comfort food, I must say.

It was the perfect meal on a lovely fall afternoon full of sunshine and crisp air and loads of house projects being checked, checked, checked off of our to-do lists.

Tomato, Semolina, and Cilantro Soup
Adapted from Plenty
Serves 4-6

Olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 celery stick, finely chopped
2 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. ground cumin
1½ tsp. sweet paprika
2 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
2 cups roughly chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 pound fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
6 cups water, plus more for thinning if necessary
1½ tbsp. sugar
1 cup semolina

Juice of 1 lemon
Greek yogurt (for garnish)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Put a medium soup pot over medium heat.  Add just enough olive oil to coat the bottom and then add the onion and celery along with a good pinch of salt.  Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, then add the coriander, cumin, paprika, thyme, and half the cilantro.  Sauté until the onion is golden and soft and the mixture is very fragrant, about another 5 minutes.  Add the tomato paste, another pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper, and the tomatoes; cook for another minute.  Pour in the water and sprinkle in the sugar and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 20 minutes.

Next, add the semolina to the simmering soup in a slow steady stream as you whisk vigorously.  Keep on cooking for 10 minutes whisking occasionally to avoid lumps.  Add  the lemon juice.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Before serving, add more water if the soup is too thick for your liking.  Ladle into bowls and spoon yogurt on top.  Garnish with the remaining cilantro.

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