Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Comfort food. This time: Soup.

I declare this the end of the search for good tomato soup. Because I have found it. 
The original recipe is by Martha Stewart and Joy has posted it here.
The flavors of this soup are: Bright and fresh, a little acidic (as if you were making it with fresh tomatoes in the summer) but also sweet the way tomatoes naturally are.

Tomato Soup

My execution, however, was quite different than Joy's version. 
First of all, I didn't know where my mother keeps her bay leaves so I skipped that. Than I decided to change the proportions of the whole thing up because I knew I would be the only one eating said soup and with the amount of stock and tomatoes that was supposed to go into it, I would have had enough soup for the next weeks.
I basically halved the liquid ingredients and omitted the cream. 
I also realized when I sat down to devour my food - this could easily be a vegan soup (if you serve it without the grilled cheese, duh!).

So here is my version of Martha Stewart's version adapted by Joy the baker:

You need:
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter & 2 Tablespoons olive oil (this is the amount suggested by Joy (or Martha) but I have never measured butter or oil unless I make a béchamel)
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 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 dried bay leaf - optional
2 cups low sodium chicken broth (or vegetable stock)
1 can (28-ounces) whole peeled tomatoes in juice
In a large pot melt the butter and the oil, add the carrot and onion and season with salt & pepper. Cook everything, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and the carrots begin to soften.
At that point: add the vinegar and let it cook off (it will smell very much of the vinegar, but move on!). Once it's cooked off, turn the heat down to low and sprinkle the flour on the vegetables, add the tomato paste and stir. 
Add the chicken broth and the tomato with their juices breaking them up with a spoon (and if you have: the bay leaf). Bring the soup to a boil, reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  
I like my soups totally smooth, so when the 30 minutes were up, I removed to pot from the heat and pureed the soup with an emulsion blender until there were no more chunks left. 
Season with salt and pepper to taste. And you are done. Easy, yes? 
This is the point where you could add cream or milk to the soup, but I really didn't think it necessary. Too many soups are killed by the addition of cream which dampens the actual flavors.

I served my soup with a grilled cheese sandwich. Which was: Amazing.
Take two slices of bread, butter them, add cheese of your liking and top one on the other. Next, melt some butter in a skillet until it's hot (but not smoking), place the sandwich in the skillet and fry until the cheese starts to melt and the bread begins to brown.
It will be greasy - of butter! Which is a good thing.

1 comment:

  1. Must say the combination sounds desirous! Sad part is i will have to wait a couple of weeks to enjoy it.