Soup to….soup

January 10, 2012

Yum. Do you good with a grilled cheese sammich, it will.

I love tomato soup. There’s a restaurant here in town — Cafe 1217, of which I have waxed eloquent more than a few times — that makes a marvelous one. Mine is just about as good.

My version is loosely based on the Pioneer Woman’s sherried tomato soup. And as long as you have el cheapo cooking sherry — I suppose you could sub white wine, but as I never have white wine, I’m going to stick with sherry — and tomatos, you can make it. It’s a bonus if you have homemade chicken stock. The only other ingredients are salt, pepper, onions, garlic, heavy cream, and a little basil to finish it off.

I don’t measure, as you know, but roughly:

  • 2 pounds fresh, ripe tomatos, or a 28-oz can (or 2 15-oz cans) of diced tomatos
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 or 7 cloves garlic, depending on your taste for garlic
  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 can tomato paste
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup cooking sherry
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 or so cup heavy cream

Heat your oil and butter over medium heat in a heavy saucepan. Mince the onions finely, and add them to the butter/oil. Mince the garlic and add it. Sweat it until it’s nice and soft; you’re not aiming for caramelization here. Add the tomato paste and let it cook gently while you’re dealing with the tomatos.

The secret to peeling tomatos easily -- a quick bath in boiling water.

I don’t like tomato skin my my tomato soup. It rolls up into little chewy tubes and doesn’t look appetizing. So I want my tomatos peeled for tomato soup. And I’m all about easy, so I’m going to peel my tomatos the easy way. I’m going to put them in a bowl, bring a teakettle of water to boil, pour the water over the tomatos until they’re submerged, and let them sit about 5 minutes.

When you pour off the water, the skin will have split on the tomatos, and it’ll slip right off, but the texture of the underlying tomato is unchanged. It’s a marvelous thing.

"Double, double, toil and trouble..."

Chop up those tomatos roughly — into quarters, and each quarter into three or four pieces — and dump them in the  pot. Using a cutting board with a juice channel around the edge so you get all the good tomato juice in there with them. Add the sherry, and bring all that to a boil over medium heat. Let it cook until the tomatos cook down a little and start to break down. Add some kosher salt (maybe 1/2 teaspoon) and a few turns of the pepper grinder. Add the chicken stock, leave it at a good simmer, and let it cook 30 minutes or so.

Post-pureeing and addition of cream.

At the end of your 30 minutes, come back and, depending on how smooth you want it, either puree it in a food processor or blender, or with your immersion blender, or put it through a food mill. The immersion blender is fine by me. Return it to the pot, lower heat to very low, and add the cream. You can also grate in some Parmigiano at this point; honestly I forgot about it.

Ladle some up into a mug, and top it with a bit of basil. It would have been better had I made the rosemary cornbread croutons, but y’know, I didn’t. Sue me.

If I had learned already how to make gluten-free sandwich bread, I’d’a made me a grilled cheese sammich to go with it, but, y’know, I haven’t. Sue me twice.

It’s cold and rainy out, and this is just a marvelous taste of warm summer. If you’re not blessed with a surfeit of Mennonite greenhouse tomatos, as I am, it still tastes pretty damn good with canned. You and y’mama ‘n ’em make you some.

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3 Responses to “Soup to….soup”

  1. Whitney Reynolds Says:

    JAY TOTALLY FOUND ME A MINI FO-PRO IN THE CABINET ABOVE FRIDGE!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m so SUPER excited to use it, I’m makin chili tomorrow night! It must’ve been his ex-wifes, but I don’t care, I’m excited to have one, even if its just a Mini!

  2. Whitney Reynolds Says:

    Which, has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with this blog, just read it and HAD to tell you 🙂

  3. Toy Lady Says:

    I’m thinking a quart of last summer’s tomatoes might be making an appearance in soup soon. Note to self: make sure I’ve got enough sherry.


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