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10th November
2009
written by Steph
Homemade Tomato Soup with puff pastry croutons

Homemade Tomato Soup with puff pastry croutons

I don’t know about you, but to me there are few things more comforting than a bowl of tomato soup served with a grilled cheese sandwich.  Whenever it’s cold and dreary or I’m in a funk and need something warm and satisfying, this is the meal I like to have.  Normally I try to keep a few cans of Campbell’s condensed tomato soup around for that purpose, but then I finally had the brainwave that I could probably make the soup from scratch.  Don’t ask me why it’s taken me 26 years to get over the belief that tomato soup was one of those things that just couldn’t be done from home (hey, I just had my mind blown by the notion that you can make your own brown sugar… and it’s really easy too, to make it all the more embarrassing!)… For this soup, I mostly followed this Martha Stewart recipe (after years of loathing her, I have finally gone over to the darkside and am completely into all things Martha), but I did add a few things to boost up the potential flavor levels, as you’ll see. Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter --> I probably only used about 2 tbsp
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme) --> I used dry
  • 1 tbsp of dried basil
  • 1 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth --> I probably made this into more like 4 cans because I wanted enough soup to get us through the week!
  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) whole peeled tomatoes in juice (with basil if available) --> I didn’t read this carefully, so I didn’t have the 28 ounce cans of tomatoes, so instead used 3 of the smaller (14.5 ounce?) cans (2 fire roasted, one just plain)… also, I pretty much never have cans of whole tomatoes, so I used diced instead
  • 2 cups of milk (I used non-fat, because that's what we keep on hand)
  • ½ cup of sour cream
Method 1)    Over medium heat in a large stockpot, melt your butter, then add in the olive oil, onion, and garlic; season with salt and pepper.  Sautee for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. 2)    Add in the flour and the tomato paste, and fry for a minute or two (you may need to add a bit more oil or butter to keep the mixture from sticking to the bottom of your pot).  Then mix in your thyme, basil, red pepper flakes.  Pour in your broth and canned tomatoes, and bring mixture to a boil.  Then reduce heat and let soup simmer for about 30 minutes. 3)    Blend about half of the soup mixture to get it a bit thicker and smoother, but unless you’re really opposed to it, try to leave some chunks of tomato in the soup for texture. 4)    Stir in your milk and the sour cream, and make sure everything is well mixed.  Garnish with grated cheese if desired. Serve up this bowl of comfort immediately! As far as soups go, I think this one is probably as easy as it gets.  It may be a little more involved than popping a tin of Campbell’s into a saucepan, but just barely, and it doesn’t really take much more time either.  And it tastes a lot better, in part because you’re not spending your whole time wondering what you’re eating. Tony wound up remarking that it tasted like a bona fide restaurant tomato soup! The flavor here is pure tomato, and while I fully admit to loving the condensed cream of tomato soup, this one is a lot more satisfying and the flavors are more genuine.  I noticed that with the exception of thyme, the original recipe was practically devoid of seasoning, which I promptly remedied.  After all, I tend to shake some red pepper flakes and dried basil onto the canned soup when I make it, so why not just add those flavors in from the get-go?  I also added in some milk and sour cream to make this more like a cream of tomato soup, but I'm not sure how necessary that was in the end, since I suspect this soup is really creamy even without that!  Then again, can you really go wrong with sour cream?  I don't think so, but you could easily omit that and use vegetable broth instead to make this both vegetarian and vegan friendly. Also exciting is that because we've been making so many soups that require blending/pureeing, we finally caved and bought an immersion blender!  Previously we had to ladle out tiny portions into our awesome-but-rather-petite magic bullet, but those days are gone now!  The immersion blender was much faster and easier, and I have to say that it's oddly satisfying to plonk the blender into the pot and go to town.  We aren't the types to litter our kitchen with unnecessary gadgets, but if you find you're making a lot of soups and the like, an immersion blender might be for you.  We picked ours up at Kroger for $25. Once again, I was really pleased with how this soup tasted, and I will say that although it’s rich and immensely satisfying, you don’t feel bogged down afterwards.  This is a soup that sits well in your tummy, and is a perfect accompaniment to a grilled cheese sandwich (because there really is no better combination!).  These grilled cheese sandwiches were made using some of the leftover Italian truffle cheese (the truffle flavor was definitely more pronounced when eaten this way) and some sharp cheddar, and Tony grilled them to perfection.  Crisp and buttery on the outside, ooey gooey cheese on the inside.  Yum!  You can be sure that we’ll be making this soup again as the weather gets colder.

10 Comments

  1. […] Homemade Tomato Soup (& Grilled Cheese Sandwiches) […]

  2. 11/10/2009

    That sounds absolutely, positively scrumptilicious. I love tomato soup and grilled cheese. I’ve never tried making my own tomato soup, though. I’m taking down the recipe right now… Thanks!

  3. 11/10/2009

    I love my immersion blender. Dang if that thing doesn’t do the job beautifully and quickly. I use it to puree onions if I want onions in something but still want my husband to eat it. It adds some onion flavor but there’s no onions for him to complain about. 😀

  4. 11/10/2009

    Yummy! I love tomato soup but have never tried to make it myself. I’m going to try this one. Pairing it with a grilled cheese sandwich sounds like the perfect dinner for a cold winter night!

  5. 11/11/2009

    We love tomato soup, and this recipe seems worth the effort of not just popping the Campbell’s lid…LOL thanks Steph.

  6. 11/16/2009

    I agree with you; there are few things better in the food department than tomato soup and grilled cheese. I’ve always been rather found of Martha, coming from a mother whose kitchen found nothing impossible. Have you tried her recipe for macaroni and cheese? It’s “the O-word” as the teachers like to say in our lounge, and I’d be glad to forward that recipe if you’d like. Your soup looks yummy. I’ll be thinking of it as I eat my ham sandwich by its lonesome self in a few hours.

  7. 11/16/2009

    @ Bellezza: I haven’t tried Martha’s mac & cheese recipe, but it sounds delicious, so please send it along! I’ve definitely been hitting up her site and my Great Food Fast cookbook (which I LOVE) for these weekly mealplans…

  8. 11/17/2009

    Rather than typing the whole recipe here, I’ll give you the link. It’s THE BEST in the WORLD!

  9. 11/18/2009

    @ Bellezza: That does look really good – I have a stovetop mac & cheese recipe I use, but not one for the baked casserole type. We’ll definitely be trying this in the future!

  10. 11/21/2009

    That looks lovely! I love all sorts of tomato soup. It’s somehow so incredibly satisfying!

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