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Tomato Cilantro Soup

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1 large can plum tomatoes (about 28 ounces), with juice
4 tablespoons tomato paste
2 bunches cilantro, washed and tied with kitchen twine (set aside 2 tablespoons leaves for garnish)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1 or 2 limes
Yogurt, preferably thick Greek style, for garnish (optional)


Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened. Add garlic, cumin and paprika, and cook 1 minute, stirring. Add tomatoes, 1 quart water, tomato paste, cilantro and 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer 30 minutes. Turn off heat, remove and discard cilantro, and blend with hand blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt, pepper, lime juice and cayenne. Serve hot or cold, with spoonful of yogurt in each bowl (if using) and sprinkled with cilantro leaves.

Source: cooking.nytimes.com