Spicy Tomato Soup with Lemongrass
What you need:
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 inner core pieces of fresh lemongrass, very finely chopped
1 tbsp hot red chillis, finely chopped
2 cups chicken stock (fresh, frozen or good quality stock cube
3 cups tomato concassé (about 1lb/454g tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and chopped)
2 tbsps sugar
Salt and ground white pepper
2 tbsps single cream
2 tbsps fresh chives, finely chopped, for garnish
1 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped, for garnish
I first came across this soup in Ken Hom's 1998 book, Travels with a Hot Wok, where it includes coconut milk. Subtle and fragrant, it can be made ahead of time and re-heats very well.
A feature of Ken's recipes is easy availability of ingredients. Surprisingly, even the lemongrass and chillis can be grown in Ireland -- just ask Dan Mullane, winner of Bord Bia's Best Use of Fresh Ingredients Award this year.
They grow both lemongrass and chillis at Dan's country house hotel, Echo Lodge, in Ballingarry, Co Limerick.
This soup serves four.
1 Melt the butter and olive oil in a medium-sized pan. Add the chopped onion, lemongrass and chillies, and cook over a low heat for about five minutes.
2Add the chicken stock and tomato concassé to the mixture. Mix well, then season the soup with the sugar, salt and pepper. Cook over a low heat for a further five minutes, then allow to cool.
3Purée the mixture in a blender. You may have to do this in several batches.
When you are ready to serve the soup, stir in the cream and garnish with chives and coriander.