Friday, February 19, 2010

Homemade Creamy Tomato Soup

As far as I am concerned, homemade tomato soup is one of the easiest, most satisfying dishes.  It is also incredibly easy to play with, depending on what exactly you are craving.  Today I wanted a simple creamy tomato soup, rather than anything more complicated.  When I want to complicate things I add fire roasted tomatoes, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, creme fraiche, buttermilk, crushed red pepper flakes, handfuls of fresh basil, orzo, or slow roasted fresh tomatoes.  But the basics always remain the same - chicken or vegetable stock, canned whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes, sweet onions, garlic, herbs (generally basil), and s&p.  This afternoon I was out of fresh basil, so I used a combination of fresh thyme and dried basil.  I also wanted the soup to be sweet, creamy and tangy, to pair with my sourdough grilled cheese sandwich.  In order to make the soup a little sweeter, I added more carrots than usual.  Then, to give the soup some tang I added buttermilk.

Use this recipe as a base for your own tomato soup experiments.  Usually when I am making tomato soup for Alex and I, he campaigns for lots of crushed red pepper flakes and sometimes for bacon.  If you want to add crushed red pepper flakes, add them at the very beginning while sauteing your aromatics.  If you want to use bacon, cut it into small pieces and cook in the pot first thing.  Then once the bacon is crispy, remove it with a slotted spoon to drain on a paper towel.  The rendered bacon fat can then be used in place of the evoo to saute your aromatics.  Have fun with it!

Recipe after the jump!

Homemade Creamy Tomato Soup

1 tbsp evoo
1 medium sweet onion, roughly chopped
1/2 medium carrot, chopped or shredded
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 tsp dried basil
28 oz. can whole, peeled San Marzano tomatoes
2 cups chicken (or vegetable) stock
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk

Heat a large Le Creuset or heavy soup pot over medium heat.  Add evoo.  After evoo is warm, add onion, carrot and garlic.  Cook until softened, stirring occasionally, roughly 5 minutes.  Add fresh thyme, dried basil, 1 tsp kosher salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper.  Cook until herbs are fragrant, roughly 1-2 minutes.  Add tomatoes, crushed by hand, and their juice.  Stir to combine ingredients.  Add stock and bright soup to a boil.  Lower the heat to medium-low, and simmer covered for 30 minutes.  Using immersion blender, puree soup until smooth.  Add buttermilk and s&p to taste.  Stir to combine.

Serve with grilled cheese sandwiches.

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