Weeknight Dinner Staple: Tomato Soup

tomato soupThat winter chill’s been hitting hard the past couple of weeks. I’ve been trying to channel scorching days from this summer when I never thought I could get any hotter. And even though temps are supposed to reach the 40s this week here in Buffalo (what?!), the otherwise constant presence of frigid temperatures only makes me want to stay in, curled up on the couch under a blanket with some hot soup. One of my favorites is a simple staple, tomato soup.

But first, I have something to admit, and I’m getting deja vu (see Greek food). I never thought I liked tomato soup. 😬 Growing up, the smell of Campbell’s canned tomato soup made my stomach churn. And even now, I still don’t think the taste is any better. So, a few years ago, when my boyfriend told me that he wanted to make tomato soup, I scrunched my face in disgust. And now he won’t let me forget this one, either; I constantly crave this delicious homemade tomato soup recipe.

Word of caution, especially if you’re in a rush, this recipe doesn’t require a lot of active cooking time, but for the best flavor, it should simmer for at least 30 minutes once it boils. Get it going, then step away to do the other million things you have to do. It’s also a perfect make-ahead meal; it’s fantastic left over!

INGREDIENTS

  • 28-oz. can whole peeled plum tomatoes, puréed*
  • 3 cups chicken broth or stock**
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
  • Dried thyme, a couple shakes (or a sprig of fresh thyme)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

*Alternatively, we’ve often used a 24-ounce bottle of passata in place of whole tomatoes. Passata typically comes pureed or crushed; you can usually find it in the pasta or Italian aisle at the grocery store. (Like this one, from Wegmans; the brand Cento makes a great passata, too.)

**If you make your own chicken stock, you’ll need to add more salt to this recipe to taste. We’ve been making stock lately in our house (more on that sometime), and we ended up adding quite a bit of extra salt.

DIRECTIONS

Add oil and butter to a 5 or 6-quart stock pot over medium heat. Once butter has melted and mixture is simmering, add onions and garlic, then stir.

While onions and garlic are cooking (5-8 minutes, depending on your stove), if you’re using whole tomatoes, you’ll need to blend those. We use an immersion blender and simply stick it right in the can, but a regular ‘ol blender will work just fine too. Blend the tomatoes until you have a purée, rather than whole tomatoes; doesn’t take long! If you’re using passata, there’s no need to blend. You can throw it right in when it’s time!

Once onions are soft, add flour and stir. Then, add your puréed tomatoes, chicken broth, sugar, thyme, and salt/pepper to taste. Bring to a boil over medium or medium-high heat, stirring often. When the soup boils, turn down to low, cover, and simmer for at least 30 minutes – an hour or so is even better! Once it’s simmered for about 30 minutes, taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

When ready to eat, remove lid and let cool about 10-15 minutes; it’ll be scorching hot! Maybe utilize this time to make grilled cheese, if you’re so inclined.

Serve with fresh bread or grilled cheese to dip. I mean, who eats tomato soup without dunking something in it?

{Recipe adapted from this one.}