Paleo Tomato Soup with Cod

2013-03-06
Soup can be an appetizer, a snack, or a one pot meal.  This dish can be all three.  It is light yet hearty; warm yet satisfying.  Loaded with veggies and protein, this soup is certain to please in cold or warm weather.  The inspiration?  A tomato soup with fish recipe found in Penzeys Spice Catalog.  It reminded me of a cod dish that my Mom makes that is baked with salsa, onions, and celery.  The addition of chopped cabbage in this soup makes it heartier without the need for potato, and it is tender while still maintaining a slight bite to the texture.

One major change that I made to the original recipe was the addition of bacon.  I decided to saute the onions, celery, and cabbage in bacon drippings to add dimension to the flavor, and to cut down on the cooking time to achieve soft vegetables.  I also omitted the carrots from the original recipe because they take much longer to cook, and I didn’t think the flavor profile needed the extra sweetness.  The omission worked perfectly!  The cooking process requires a little more work and attention than a crockpot dish, but it is worth it!

I  reserved the bacon pieces to crumble on top when it was time to serve.  The bacon on top made a pretty garnish and provided a delightful crunch, but even without the bacon on top it is an incredibly satisfying soup.  You could just use coconut oil to saute the veggies instead of bacon – it will still be delicious!

The tomato base of the soup is also a combination of some of my favorite tomato-based products, and much less water than the original recipe.  I love including fire-roasted tomatoes in dishes because they are more flavorful than regular canned tomatoes.  I also used San Marzano tomatoes because they are high quality, and by using a can of whole tomatoes – it was fun to break them apart with the spoon while still maintaining large chunks of tomato.  The third tomato component is Spicy Hot V8 juice.  Yum!  There are so many vegetables combined in the juice – and no sugar!  This not only brings in a bunch of nutrients from the veggies, but also imparts a depth of flavor – not to mention a little bit of heat.  You may use regular V8 juice instead, but the Spicy Hot V8 adds spice without being overly hot.

Lemon pepper is what brings a little extra tang to this yummy dish.  As much as I love lemon, I’m not usually a fan of lemon pepper.  In this dish, though, it works so well with the tomato and fish.  The addition of lemon also helps to enhance the flavors of this dish without the need for any additional salt, so salt the soup to your taste throughout the cooking process.  If you are like my Mom and love to add extra lemon juice on fish, feel free to squeeze fresh lemon juice into your bowl before serving!

This recipe will make a lot of soup, but that is okay!  It gets better and better each day.  The vegetables maintain their texture, and the fish is firm, yet flaky.  The leftovers make for a perfect snack, lunch, or dinner!  For about an hour’s worth of work, I certainly got a lot of mileage out of this soup and I definitely plan on making it again!

Ingredients

  • 4-6 pieces of bacon, reserve 2 tbs bacon drippings
  • 2-3 lbs wild caught cod, cut into small filets
  • 1 (28 oz) can whole san marzano tomatoes
  • 28 oz Spicy Hot V8 juice
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cup celery
  • 1/2 head of cabbage, stem removed and chopped
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbs lemon pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper, depending on taste
  • sea salt, to taste

Instructions

  • 1. On a microwavable bacon tray, cook bacon (about 3 minutes on HIGH)
  • 2. Set bacon aside, and pour 1 tbs bacon drippings in large nonstick skillet
  • 3. On a separate burner, place a large soup pot or dutch oven: add canned tomatoes, V8 juice, fire-roasted tomatoes, water and bring up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally
  • 4. Heat skillet with bacon drippings on medium/med-high heat, then add celery and onion
  • 5. Cook onion and celery for 1-2 minutes, cover, and cook for another 5-6 minutes or until browned and softened
  • 6. Add minced garlic, stir for about a minute, then remove from heat
  • 7. Add celery mixture to dutch oven, then add another tablespoon of bacon drippings to nonstick skillet
  • 8. To nonstick skillet: add cabbage and cook for 1-2 minutes, cover, then cook for another 5 minutes or until cabbage is slightly wilted
  • 9. Stir cabbage, lemon pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes into the tomato mixture, then cover and simmer for about 10 minutes
  • 10. Add pieces of cod to dutch oven, gently push them down to submerge, cover and cook for another 10 minutes
  • 11. Stir soup to break up the cod pieces that haven’t flaked apart yet, and add salt if necessary
  • 12. Optional: serve with crumbled bacon on top
  • 13. Enjoy!