Tomato Coconut Soup
We served this at our 2011 Tomato Tasting garnished with purple basil, coconut cream, & lime sugar, and it was a huge hit. As it’s such a simple dish, the success of this soup depends upon the quality of the ingredients — use ripe, flavorful tomatoes to make your paste, good quality coconut milk (see note below), & homemade chicken stock, ideally from pastured or certified organic poultry.
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp butter (or extra virgin olive oil, for dairy free)
- 1 1/2 cup tomatoes oven-roasted; pureed
- 1 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
- 1 1/2 cup chicken stock (ideally homemade!)
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- purple basil (optional garnish)
- lime zest (optional garnish)
To make the oven-roasted tomatoes: blanch and shock tomatoes in boiling water and peel the skins away. Then slice, seed and spread on baking trays. Sprinkle with salt and oil and bake in a low oven (200°F) for 5–8 hours until most of the liquid has evaporated and the tomatoes are sweet and the consistency of paste. Blend to make a lighter, looser tomato paste for use in sauces or soups.
To make the soup: sweat the onion in butter or olive oil over very low heat until soft and just faintly colored (about 30 minutes). Add tomato paste and stir, browning the tomato paste. Add the stock and the coconut milk and bring the soup just to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes to blend the flavors. Purée in a blender, or with an immersion blender, then taste and adjust seasonings and consistency. Serve warm with a swirl of coconut cream or other garnish – we like purple basil and lime zest.
Note: Unfortunately, all the organic coconut milk brands we could find have guar gum (a thickener and emulsifier), which affects the flavor of the milk and can cause the consistency to turn gummy, especially on the second day. We like Natural Value, even though it’s not organic, because it doesn’t have any guar gum or preservatives (Cooks Illustrated rated the Chaokoh brand highest for taste and flavor, but this brand like most of the Thai-made brands contains preservatives). Also, don’t buy “light” coconut milk — it’s just regular coconut milk cut with water, which you’re paying for. Instead, scale up your recipe to use the full can and enjoy this healthy fat!