Saturday, December 5, 2009

Tomato Orzo Soup

Here is another fantastic soup from Turkey. I've learned to cook it this past summer from my mother-in-law. You see when my younger son being less then a year old has tried this soup for the first time he has not only finished a huge bowl of it-he asked for more. I thought he was just plain hungry that day. But no. He loved it ! Now I cook it basically once a week and together with my hubby they are finishing the pot almost instantly.
You can understand now that I've made this soup dozens of times and at one point I have added one more ingredient that I think made the flavor even richer. It is a Turkish red pepper paste. Let me tell you that I am in love with it! It is now my secret ingredient when it comes to pulling off any great tomato based sauce or soup. It just makes everything so much more flavorful.
By all means if you have a Middle Eastern store in your neighborhood stop by and get yourself a jar. Try to get the one that is made from Antep peppers since it doesn't get any better then that. And please pay attention as the paste may come in different levels of spiciness.
One last thing I need to comment on before I get back to the recipe. You will need to grate fresh tomatoes for this soup. If you've never done this before the best way of doing it is by cutting tomato in half and then grating it until you reach the skin.

So....lets get back to the soup. You will need

1 Tbs of flour

1 Tbs of butter

2 Tbs of tomato paste

2 Tbs of pepper paste (optional)

3 tomatoes grated

8 cups of chicken broth (about 2 liters)

1/2 cup of orzo pasta (rice shaped pasta)

1/2 tsp or more of dry mint

In a pot over a high moderate heat melt 1tbs of butter then add 1 Tbs of flour. Now you have to mix them constantly until the flour achieves this golden color and starts giving away a nutty aromas. Basically you are trying to make a roux. Then add about a cup of broth and stir everything well to make a smooth base for the soup. I like using a whisk for that task. Now pour the rest of the broth. Add your tomato and pepper pastes plus grated tomatoes. Increase the heat and start bringing everything to the boil. Once you soup is boiling add orzo and dry mint. Lower the heat and cook until pasta is ready.

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