Soups are soothing, comforting and satisfying. I think each warm spoonful trickles down and seeps into every crevice of my being. It soothes and brings a toastiness not only to my body, but also to my soul. It’s no wonder most people eat soup when they’re sick!
For me, what I like the most about soup is how light and refreshing it tastes but at the same time is so satisfying. I love all kinds of soups, starting with Borsch, Chicken Noodle Soup, Zuppa Toscana to more “exotic ones” like Rassolnik, Schi, Okroshka, etc. Just kidding about the exotic part – those are all Russian soups that the rest of the world may consider a little out of ordinary:) but we Russians grew up eating all the time. Or at least our moms made us. Isn’t it funny how most kids don’t like soup? But then they grow up and all that soup-hate changes.
I especially like soups that are classics. Tomato soup fits into that category perfectly, and is loved by both children and adults. I make Tomato Soup quite often and always serve it with some crunchy Garlic Bread or Parmesan Herb Croutons. This soup is creamy, aromatic and feels sort of rustic.
Since I live in a city apartment and don’t even have a porch to grow a pot of herbs, I can’t really rely on getting some good quality tomatoes to use for this soup. Besides, tomatoes aren’t in season very long, and I want to enjoy this soup all year, so canned tomatoes it is. I’ve come to find out that canned tomatoes are picked during the peak of the season, so they are actually a very good choice. Roasting the tomatoes in the oven brings out their sweetness and intensifies their flavor. Sprinkling them with some brown sugar first, deepens the caramelization even more and mellows out the acidity of the tomatoes. Using onions and garlic as aromatics to bring more flavor to the soup is a perfect combination to complement the soup and not overpower it. Splashing in a touch of cream at the end gives this soup it’s creamy and luscious texture and balances the acidity of the tomatoes too.
This soup is quick enough to make on a busy weeknight and the simple flavors will satisfy both children and adults. I adapted this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen, my ultimate kitchen heroes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Drain the diced tomatoes, saving all the juice, and distribute evenly on the prepared baking sheet. I made a large pot of soup, so the ingredient amounts in the pictures are for double the amount called for in the recipe. Sprinkle with the brown sugar. Roast in the oven for about 20-30 minutes, until the tomatoes are almost charred in spots. The tomatoes should look very dry. Set aside. In a medium pot, melt the butter and cook the shallot or onion until tender, covered, about 5 minutes, on medium heat. Add the garlic, tomato paste and cook for about 1 minute. (If you think that looks like ketchup, you’re right:). I couldn’t find it at the time and had to make do with what I had. Of course, I found it when the soup was already cooked.) Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon so all the flour is incorporated into the butter. Pour in a small part of the chicken broth or reserved tomato juice, stirring vigorously (or better yet, use a whisk), just so that the flour is evenly distributed in the soup and no lumps form. Add the rest of the chicken broth, reserved tomato juice, and the roasted tomatoes to the soup. Cook for 20-30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Puree the soup in a blender.
You’ll need to do this in batches. Don’t fill the blender more than half full, or you just might have an explosion. Speaking from experience:). Yep tomato puree was all over the counters, cupboards, floor refrigerator and me. It HURT, too. It took so long to clean that mess, and I even burned my scalp through my hair. Moral of the story, don’t try to get out a little bit of work, you’ll end up with much, much more.
Return the pureed soup to the pot, and add the cream.
Garlic bread is a must for this soup:). The crunch of the bread is a perfect match for this creamy soup.
- 2 (28 oz) cans diced tomatoes, drained, JUICE RESERVED
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped, or 2 large shallots, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 1½ Tablespoons flour
- 2 cups chicken broth, or vegetable broth
- ⅓-1/2 cup heavy cream
- salt, pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Drain the tomatoes. Reserve the juice. Spread the tomatoes on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Roast for 20-30 minutes, until the tomatoes are dark gold and almost charred in spots. They should appear dry. Set aside.
- Melt the butter in a medium pot. Add the onions, season with salt. Cook, covered, about 5 minutes, until tender and beginning to turn golden.
- Add the garlic and tomato paste. Cook for about a minute.
- Add the flour and cook, stirring, until all the flour is incorporated.
- Pour in a small part of the broth or reserved tomato juice, stirring vigorously or use a whisk, to prevent lumps from forming.
- Add the rest of the broth or reserved tomato juice and the roasted tomatoes. Bring to a boil and cook for about 20 minutes.
- Puree the soup in batches. Season with salt and pepper.
- Return the soup to the pot and add the cream.
You can also top the soup with croutons or shaved Parmesan cheese.