Tomato Soup with Polenta Croutons and Spiced Yogurt
- 4 TBS butter
- 1/2 an onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1–2 parsnips, peeled and chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
- 2 TBS flour (optional)
- 1 pound tomatoes, coarsely chopped
- 3 cups vegetable stock or water
- sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper
- Leftover cooked polenta
- 1 cup frying oil such as avocado oil
- 4 tsps Greek yogurt
- 1/4 tsp harissa paste (if you have some), or a large pinch cayenne pepper
- sea salt
- For the soup, melt the butter in a medium sized pot. Add the onion, carrot, parsnip, garlic, and thyme, stir and cook on medium low heat until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. My grandmother always added parsnips to her soup for both their thickening ability and their wonderful flavor. If you are not going to use flour in this soup, add an extra chopped parsnip to do the trick. If you are using flour (as the French do), add it after the onions have become soft, then stir well and cook about 4 minutes. Now add the tomatoes and cook another 5 minutes or so, until the pieces start to soften. Add the stock (or water) and some salt and pepper to taste, and let the soup simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Now puree it in a blender or use an immersion blender. This soup should be as smooth as you can get it. Taste it again and adjust with salt and pepper. Sometimes a bit of sugar is needed if the tomatoes are acidic.
- For your polenta croutons, the leftover polenta should have firmed up in the refrigerator. Cut it into 1 inch cubes and dry them off with a paper towel. Fry them in hot oil on all sides for 2-3 minutes until they start to brown– careful, they might pop and sputter. Remove them to a paper towel.
- Mix the Greek yogurt with a bit of harissa paste or cayenne pepper and sea salt.
- Garnish the soup with swirls of spiced yogurt, and top with crispy polenta croutons.