Friday, March 16, 2012

Lent Suppers - Tomato Soup

On a cold and rainy day there isn't anything better than a bowl of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. Back when I worked up in Portland there was this little restaurant that served the BEST tomato soup. Since my first taste of that amazing soup I have tried to get the recipe. I've asked the chef for the recipe and I emailed recipe requests to newspapers and magazines. Nothing worked.

I finally decided the only way for me to get this soup at home was to figure out how to make it myself. After numerous attempts, many good and some down right terrible here is my closest version of that yummy soup:

Here is the cast of characters.

First dice the carrots.

Next dice the onions.

In a heavy saucepan melt the butter and add the olive oil. Saute the carrots and onions until the onions are translucent. Add a splash of vinegar. Be sure not to inhale as it will knock your socks off!

Dump in the flour and tomato paste and mix until well incorporated. Cook for a minute to cook off the flour taste.

Pour in the broth and add the bay leaf.

Now come the tomatoes. I like the whole tomatoes with basil in the Winter since basil is hard to come by. In the Summer I get plain whole tomatoes and add in fresh basil at the end. As for adding in the tomatoes many recipes will tell you to break up the tomatoes with your hands. Not really sure why it has to be your hands. Seems too messy to me (if you know, please enlighten me). Instead I take scissors and cut them while in the can. Add the tomatoes and juices to the pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes. Be sure to stir occasionally so the soup doesn't scorch on the bottom. Scorched soup is not happy soup.

Remove the pot from the heat and blend with an immersion blender until smooth.

Add in cream and parmesan cheese. I tend to be pretty liberal in my measurements...

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm with a grilled cheese sandwich!


  • 4 T. unsalted butter
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely diced
  • course sea salt and fresh black pepper
  • splash of red wine vinegar (just over 1 Tablespoon)
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 3 T. tomato paste
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 2 cans (14 1/2-oz. each) vegetable stock or chicken broth
  • 2 cans (28-oz. each) whole peeled tomatoes in juice (with basil if available)
  • 3/4 c. cream
  • 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese (shaker kind)

  • Directions:
    In a large saucepan or Dutch oven melt butter over medium heat. Add oil, carrot and onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the onion is translucent and the carrots are well on their way to softening, about 7 to 8 minutes. Add the splash of vinegar and stir until cooked off.

    Turn flame to low and add flour. Incorporate into the onion and carrots. Add tomato paste and cook for 1 minute to distribute the paste and cook off the flour taste.
    Add broth and bay leaf.
    Break up the tomatoes and add tomatoes and juices to the pot. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    Remove from heat. Using an emulsion blender, puree soup in pot until you’ve reached the desired consistency. Stir in cream and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

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