Monday, March 5, 2012

Classic Tomato Soup

What makes a great lunch better than really good tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich? Not much, I think. It is comfort food at its best. But it's hard to find a really good tomato soup recipe - cookbook authors and chefs tend to "fancy it up" too much. This recipe, from Fine Cooking Magazine is the best one around and I use it all the time - it freezes well, is creamy yet uses no milk or cream. What more could you ask? Incidentally, I LOVE Fine Cooking Magazine. Their recipes are easy to understand and never fail. I changed the recipe slightly so it will be easier to make in our motorhome kitchen. You may want to check out the recipe in the magazine and do it their way.
Classic Tomato Soup

2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 large white onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, smashed and peeled
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
3 cups lower-salt chicken broth
28-oz. can whole peeled plum tomatoes (include the juice) I use San Marzano tomatoes* and break them up with a potato masher'
1-1/2 tsp. sugar
1 sprig fresh thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbs. thinly sliced fresh basil, chives, or dill, or a mixture of all three


In a nonreactive 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven, heat the oil and butter over medium-low heat until the butter melts. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add the flour (I use the instant flour) and stir to coat the onion and garlic.

Add the broth, tomatoes, sugar, thyme, and 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat while stirring the mixture to make sure that the flour is not sticking to the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes.

Discard the thyme sprig. Let cool briefly and then purée in two or three batches in a blender or food processor. I use the immersion blender to do this right in the pot I cook the soup in. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reheat if necessary. Serve warm but not hot, garnished with the herbs.

*San Marzano is a variety of plum tomato, usually grown in Italy. I is hard to fine in Nova Scotia but they do sell it at Costco. Hopefully it will be easier to find as we discover Italian markets on our travels.

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