It has been a very cold week.
Who needs a bowl of rich and thick creamy soup to warm their bones?
There is nothing as quintessentially cozy as a cup of rich & creamy tomato soup- especially a bowl that is homemade. Tomato soup is a perfect meal to curl up with on a frosty night. Add a toasted cheese sandwich made with crusty sour dough bread and you have a wonderful meal than can be whipped up with mostly pantry staples.
The unremarkable plum tomato is the base for this soup. Typically, plum tomatoes are grainy and flavorless, but once roasted with olive oil, garlic and onion, they become a hearty base for this soup. For a hint of luxury, I like to round out the sharpness with a splash of heavy cream, and a sprig of fresh basil or creme fraiche to garnish.
My version of tomato soup is loosely based on the recipe by the Barefoot Contessa. Over the years, I changed the recipe to add a few flavor boosters. Anchovy paste is my secret ingredient to add even more punch to the bland plum tomatoes. I felt even after roasting, the tomatoes needed a little something more. I also roast my onions and garlic, then add them to the stock pot and finally I add third type of tomatoes- Sun dried tomatoes. They impart a sweetness to the soup and balance out the soup perfectly.
I hope you try out this wonderful soup. It is perfect for a family dinner while watching football and special enough as a starter for that dinner party where you need to impress. Enjoy!
roasted tomato Soup
3 lbs of plum tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
1/4 cup olive oil, plus 1 TBSP olive oil
1 TSP kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 large yellow onion, chopped into large slices
4 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1 TBSP butter
1 28 oz can plum tomatoes
1 8 oz jar sun-dried tomatoes in oil- drained.
2 TBSP tomato paste
1 TSP thyme leaves
1 quart chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
Fresh basil or Creme Fraiche- for garnish
1 TBSP anchovy paste
METHOD prep- 15 minutes. Total cook time- 2 hours
- Pre heat oven to 400 degrees
- In a large bowl, toss onions, garlic, tomatoes together with salt, pepper and 1/4 cup olive oil. Spread in an even layer on a large rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper cut side up and roast for 45 minutes. Remove garlic after 20 minutes so that it does not burn. Remove from heat and save the pan juices.
- In a large stock pot sauté the onions and garlic in remaining olive oil and butter until softened. On low heat, add in the anchovy paste and cook until warmed through- do not burn. To the pot add in the canned plum tomatoes with juices, sun-dried tomatoes, thyme leaves, and chicken stock. Add in roasted tomatoes and all pan juices from the roasting pan. Let simmer uncovered for 30-40 minutes.
With an immersion blender, pulse the soup (while in the stock pot) until the large chucks of tomatoes are processed and sun-dried tomatoes are bite sized. Do not over progress. Add salt and pepper to taste. You can also process the soup through a food mill.
Stir in heavy cream and cook on low for another 2 minutes.
Serve with a dollop of Creme Fraiche or a fresh basil sprig.