4 cups raw cashews
4 cups water
2 tablespoons neutral oil, such as canola
4 cups chopped yellow onions
1 cup sliced celery
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 small chipotle, either dried or in adobo, optional
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried dill
1 teaspoon ground fennel
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 (28-ounce) cans whole or chopped tomatoes
The juice from one lemon or lime
Chopped parsley or basil for garnish, optional
In a blender (or using an immersion blender) blend the cashews and water until smooth. I find it helpful to do this in an 8-cup batter bowl, which gives me enough room to really blend the cashews with my immersion blender. A Vitamix would also be handy, although a regular blender will work as well. Set aside. Don't wash your blender as you will be using it again soon.
In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil, and add the onion, celery, and salt. Cook slowly, partially covered. Stir occasionally. When onions are soft and translucent, add the garlic and chipotle and cook until fragrant. Add remaining spices and continue to cook another minute or two.
Add tomatoes and the blended cashews, and stir. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until soup begins to thicken slightly, about 10 minutes. Blend using an immersion blender, or in batches in a blender (be very careful when blending hot liquids!), until soup is smooth. Return to pot, taste for seasoning, and add the lemon or lime juice if needed. Reheat gently, watching carefully, as it's easy to scorch the bottom.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with the optional herbs.
This recipe was originally published October 2008.