During the summers, I tend to eat a lot of hummus, raw veggies, and baked tortilla chips for my lunches and dinners. It’s quick, satisfying, and requires minimal dish-washing afterwards.
But as soon as the weather starts getting cool, I gravitate less towards cold meals and raw produce, and more towards warm roasted vegetables and stews. And also towards pumpkin spice donuts, but that’s a whole other story.
Tomato soup has always been a favorite of mine, but it can be a little watery and blah (Campbell’s -I’m looking at you!). So instead of making a classic tomato soup, I decided to up the ante and make a more rustic tomato stew, with large chunks of tomato, and a healthy dose of aromatic spices.
I’ve had a small amount of saffron sitting on my spice rack for a while now, but it’s so darn expensive, that I’m always a little hesitant to actually use it. I mean, what if I accidentally drop a pinch on the floor? That’s $3 right there…almost enough to buy a bottle of kombucha.
Fortunately, the saffron made it safely into this stew, along with a little of my under-used fennel seeds, a pinch of red pepper flakes to give it warmth, and some raisins to add extra sweetness. It may sound a little odd, but trust me on this one – similar to last week’s Moroccan Stew, the raisins are key. Just do it.
Top it all off with a few toasted, sliced almonds for crunch, and scallions for brightness. It’s fantastic on it’s own, but even better with your favorite crusty bread to soak up all of the tomato broth.
- ½ C. Sliced Almonds
- 3 Tbs. Olive Oil
- 3 Large Cloves of Garlic, thinly sliced
- ½ Tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- ¾ Tsp. Fennel Seeds
- ¼ Tsp. Saffron (optional, but highly recommended)
- 2 Cans (28 oz) Whole, Peeled Organic Tomatoes
- ¾ C. Raisins (I used Thompson)
- 5 Scallions, thinly sliced
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Spread sliced almonds on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, tossing once or twice, until toasted. Transfer to a bowl to cool.
- Heal olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add sliced garlic, stir, and allow to cook for 1 minute.
- Add red pepper flakes, fennel seeds, and saffron. Stir and cook for 1 minute.
- Add canned tomatoes and break them up using the back of a wooden spoon. Bring to a low boil, then lower heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes, uncovered, until thickened.
- Add raisins, stir, and allow to cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- Serve hot, topped with toasted almonds and scallions.
This stew is a new favorite, for sure.