Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cream of Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese

Ever since moving to the US, I have had the chance to try different dishes that are considered “American staples”. Chicken pot pie, mac and cheese, biscuits and gravy, S’mores, apple pie with vanilla ice cream, even peanut butter and jelly sandwich! These foods bring me and my family a sense of comfort, and so I strive to try different recipes until I find my favorite (like I’ve already found my favorite Mac & Cheese recipe).
So that brings me to today’s recipe… tomato soup. Do you say to-may-toh, or to-mah-toh? Sorry, got off on a tangent…
Back to the soup. I’ve had tomato soup and similar versions of it before in restaurants, but NEVER made them from scratch.
And from scratch, I mean from regular tomatoes, not from a can. Like from these puppies right below, fresh from my parents’ vegetable garden. Aren’t they beautiful?
So as I was looking for a good recipe for cream of tomato soup, I came across this one from Ina Garten on the Food Network. Reviews looked good, the recipe didn’t seem too complicated with off-the-wall ingredients, so I figured I would try it.

One of the problems I came across with this recipe is that I don’t have a food mill. I’ve seen one be needed in a few recipes, but then I just look for another recipe that doesn’t call for utensils I don’t have. Maybe I should eventually invest in one, but while I have a limited amount of space in my kitchen, I will make do with what I have. And what I have is a blender! The recipe below is modified to how I made the soup, but feel free to follow the original recipe as posted also.
Now, the co-star of this meal is a nice grilled cheese sandwich. We chose to use a nice smoked gouda cheese and sliced avocado in sourdough bread. The grilled cheese was a creation my husband made, so there isn’t a recipe. Whatever your favorite grilled cheese recipe would go very well with this tomato soup!
Hope you enjoy it!

5 Tbsp good olive oil
2 cups chopped red onions (about 3 onions)
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 Tbsp minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
6 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/3 cup packed chopped fresh basil leaves, plus julienned basil leaves for garnish
4 ½ cups chicken stock
1 ½ Tbsp kosher salt
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 – 1 ½ cup heavy cream
Croutons, for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and carrots and saute for about 10 minutes, until very tender. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, sugar, tomato sauce, basil, chicken stock, salt, and pepper (all ingredients except heavy cream and garnishes) and stir well. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes, until the tomatoes are very tender.
When the carrots and tomatoes are very tender, use a blender to puree the soup. Then, add the cream to the soup and reheat over low heat just until hot and serve with julienned basil leaves and/or croutons, as desired.

Recipe adapted from Food Network, Barefoot Contessa

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