Cooking with Turmeric: Spicy Tomato-Olive Soup Recipe

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This soup is simple to make and pleasing served hot or cold. It’s best if made with flavorful olive oil and Kalamata, or similar high-quality, olives. SERVES 4 TO 6

• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 4 large cloves garlic, crushed
• 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
• 2 tablespoons flour
• 4 cups chopped fresh tomatoes, or 1 can (32 ounces) chopped tomatoes
• 2 cups water
• 1 teaspoon fresh or dried thyme leaves, 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, or 2 tablespoons minced celery leaves
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
• 1/4 cup minced olives (see note above)
• 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
• Tabasco or similar hot sauce, optional
• Salt to taste

1. Heat the oil in a stock pot over a moderate flame and sauté the garlic until fragrant. Stir in the onion. Cook until limp, then sprinkle the flour over the garlic and onion. Stir and cook for 1 minute over medium heat.

2. Add a few tablespoons of the tomatoes to the stock pot and stir until the flour forms a smooth paste. Then slowly stir in the remaining tomatoes, water, herbs, pepper, and half the sugar. Cover and simmer 20 minutes if using canned tomatoes, 30 minutes if using fresh.

3. Transfer the mix to a blender and puree. Pour it back into the pot. Stir in the olives and turmeric, then add the additional sugar, hot sauce, and salt to taste. Heat just until very hot, then serve. It can also be chilled and served cold.

Cornelia Carlson holds a doctorate in biochemistry and is an avid grower and user of herbs. She writes frequently for Herbs for Health and is the author of The Practically Meatless Gourmet (Berkley, 1996). She writes from her home in Arizona.

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