Indian-Spiced Tomato Soup

© Kevin Schuder

This recipe was created exclusively for TreeHugger by Kevin Schuder, Executive Chef at Yield Wine Bar, to pair with a bottle of Sarah Little from our featured green wine maker, Kaz Vineyard & Winery. The Kaz 'Sarah Little' 2007 Petite Syrah is a very well-balanced wine that is light-bodied, with good acidity and spice.

"I found aromas of cranberries, fennel, pine and cloves, and thought it might be nice to focus on the right combination of spices to match the flavor profile. Recently, I paired a bold red wine with a recipe for a Chinese Tempeh, Broccoli, and Red Bell Pepper Stir-Fry which included the same spices detected in the aroma of the wine. The unorthodox pairing worked because the spiciness, saltiness, and ginger that you often find in a stir-fry was toned down, and the complimentary flavors were accented to mirror the wine's flavor profile," says Kevin. The same trick of using spices similar to the wine's profile is done here with Indian-Spiced Tomato Soup, perfect for a chilly day.

© Kevin Schuder

Indian-Spiced Tomato Soup

  • About 4 lb. of fresh tomato, charred (6 cups roasted and pureed)
  • Vinegar or wine for deglazing
  • 2 T. canola oil (or other neutral tasting, high-heat oil)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced fennel bulb
  • 2 T. tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 t. ground cumin
  • 1/2 t. cardamom
  • 1/4 t. ground clove
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Vegetable stock (optional)
  • Butter, heavy cream, crème fraiche, or yogurt (optional)
  • Chopped parsley (optional)
  • Toasted mustard seeds (optional)
© Kevin Schuder

"Tomatoes contain a lot of umami, otherwise known as the 'fifth taste' in cooking. Umami is a savory taste that is subtle, but is very noticeable for its ability to carry other flavors and give a dish a long aftertaste. Tomatoes contain a lot of glutamate, making it rich in umami. A concentrated tomato flavor will contribute to the body of the soup, allowing it to stand up to the flavor of a red wine. For the concentrated taste, we're going to use roasted tomatoes in combination with tomato paste," says Kevin.

1. Heat a large saute pan over high heat. Wash your tomatoes and remove any stems. Add the tomatoes to the pan and don't move them until they burn and blister. Then flip them over, and burn the other side, repeating until the tomatoes are charred and softened.

2. Deglaze the pan with a tablespoon of vinegar or wine.

3. After the tomatoes have cooled, crush or chop them to break them up.

4. In a large, preferably heavy cast-iron pot, over medium heat, saute the diced onion and fennel in the oil with a pinch of salt, until they are soft and translucent.

5. Add all of the ground spices and toast for a minute, making sure not to burn them, and adding a little more oil if necessary. The oils will help the flavors of the spices open up.

© Kevin Schuder

6. Stir in the tomato paste and saute for another minute.

7. Deglaze the pan with a little vinegar or wine if you like, then add all of the roasted crushed tomatoes, and let simmer over medium heat until the tomatoes have further softened, adding stock or water if the pot becomes too dry.

8. Transfer contents a batch at a time to the blender. Either let the soup cool for a bit, or blend in small batches, because too much hot soup in a blender will create enough steam to blow the top off. Immersion blenders are a convenient way to work around this.

9. Adjust the texture of the soup by adding more stock, water, or maybe even a little oil if necessary. Another option, is you can return the soup back to a cleaned pot, and over low heat, stir in butter or cream to finish. When the texture is right for you, taste again and add salt and seasonings to taste. A little vinegar or lemon juice can really wake a dish up and make it brighter. The painter Cezanne would spend several hours staring at an apple to better understand sight, so dedicate at least a minute to seasoning the soup and understanding your distinct preference for taste. Now the soup is yours!

10. When serving the soup, feel free to garnish with crème fraiche, yogurt, chopped parsley, toasted mustard seeds or whatever you see fit.

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Tags: Cooking | Green Wine Guide | Recipes | Tomatoes | Vegetarian

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