simple tomato soup w toasted cumin & coriander seeds

I have a wonderful friend who has nearly finished her first novel, and is managing on the kind of budget that entails. This recipe is for Lou. If there is only the one of you, by throwing a different topping on, this soup can keep you happy for most of the week. When it gets thick and gluggy at the end it makes a great pizza or pasta sauce or a handy addition to cheese on toast.

But indifferent of budget there are times when I crave tomato soup of the chunky wholesome kind. Today was one of them. This recipe makes six bowls of soup. I topped it off with some venison chorizo, crumbled feta and fresh parsley to make a well rounded winter dinner.

For those of you in Auckland, I found the chorizo at West Lynn Organic Meats (09 376 1439). It is particularly good, with a firm texture, and a pure spicey heat derived from the traditional smoked paprika. I thought I was going to be disapointed until I cooked it unleashing all the flavours, and heat stored in the chorizo's oils. This is definately among the best chorizo I have had in NZ.

1 brown onion, finely sliced
1 white part of medium sized leek, diced
2 sticks of celery, diced
25g butter
1 tsp of cumin seeds, toasted
1 tsp of coriander seeds, toasted
2 tins of whole peeled tomatoes
2 cups of water
salt and pepper
1 tbls red wine vinegar
2 tsp soft brown sugar
2 venison chorizo sausages, sliced on the diagonal
50 g creamy feta
1 small bunch of parsley

In a really big skillet, or saucepan (at least 1 litre capacity), sweat off the onions, leek and celery in the butter until they are soft and clear in colour.

Sweating means cooking really slowly over a low heat. This will bring out the natural sweetness in the ingredients.

Add the cumin and coriander seeds
Add the tomatoes
Add the water

Continue to cook on a low heat with a lid on, the longer it cooks the more flavour you'll get. I cooked mine for four hours, but simmering for twenty minutes will do it.

Now add salt, pepper, brown sugar and vinegar.
Taste again. Do you need to add any more salt? pepper? sugar? vinegar? This is dependent on your palate, adjust and taste again.

In a small fry pan fry cook of the chorizo slices until they are a little black round the edges and have started to curl and curve.

Serve the soup in bowls with a pile of chorizo, feta and parsley on top.

Photo to follow.