Monday, January 12, 2009

Meatless Monday - Cream of Tomato Soup

Posting about Meatless Monday has been a bit of a problem. Since our main meal is at 7:30 at night, by the time I'm done with the dishes, the kids are in bed, and I manage a blog post, it's already Tuesday, and posting about Meatless Monday on Tuesday is a little screwy. So I'm trying out writing the post after the fact, and then posting early on the FOLLOWING Monday. Which is why everything is in past tense. Does that make sense?

For Meatless Monday, we had Cream of Tomato soup that I made following the recipe in America's Test Kitchen's The Best 30-Minute Recipe. I grew up on the stuff in the red and white can, and really haven't liked it since they switched to high fructose corn syrup. It is much too sweet now, and much too runny to work in the recipes that I normally use it in.

But oh, how I loved cream of tomato soup as a kid! We would have it with grilled cheese sands or would dip peanut butter sands in it. Yum! Sometimes instead of in a bowl, we'd have it in a mug, and drink it. Serious comfort food.

This is WAY better. Much more tomato-y. Yes, it takes longer, but still under 30 minutes, and most of the stuff can be found in the pantry.

Cream of Tomato Soup
Serves 6

3 - 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
3C chicken broth*
2 bay leaves
2 T butter
1 onion, minced
1 T brown sugar
1 T tomato paste
2 T flour
1/2 C heavy cream
2 t dry sherry
pinch cayenne

Drain tomatoes really well, reserving juice. Add broth to reserved tomato juice to measure 5 C. Bring broth mixture and bay leaves to boil, covered in large saucepan and set aside (I kept it at low simmer). Meanwhile, melt butter in Dutch oven over high heat. Add tomatoes, onion, brown sugar, tomato paste, and 1/2 t salt, and cook until tomatoes are dry and beginning to brown, 11-13 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for 1 min. Slowly stir in broth mixture. Bring to simmer and cook 5 min. Remove bay leaves. Puree soup until smooth**. Stir in cream and sherry. Return to brief simmer, then remove from heat. Season with salt and cayenne to taste.

*Okay, I know. Using chicken broth isn't strictly meatless. You can use vegetable broth if you like. I think of "Meatless" as meaning "no flesh".

** The directions say to put it in the blender in batches. I'm telling you, if you don't already have one, a stick blender is the way to go. I love my stick blender!!! It's not baby-food pureed, but I like finding little bits of onion or tomato bursting with flavor. Works great for making applesauce, too, without all the mess of using a blender or food mill, and then you have to dirty another blasted bowl find a place to put umpty gallons of soup or sauce while you do the next batch. No thanks.

Some day my garden will be at the point where I'm canning oodles of tomatoes, and I'll actually be able to make broths that taste like broth instead of lightly flavored water, and then this will be much more homemade. I'd definitely like to try it with fresh tomatoes. But until then, this is definitely on the winter soup rotation.


Susan said...

Thanks for the recipe. Yeah I know what you mean, the dipped grilled cheese sandwich is comfort food for me too. I feel stupid that I didn't even know that campbells started using high fructose corn syrup.

Kristi said...

Hey, Susan! Thanks for stopping by. I don't think most people know about the HFCS in Campbells soup. I'm just a read-what's-on-the-ingredient-list junky. Have been since I was 12, when I loved to read all those long-winded chemical names on the cereal box. Guess that's why I became a chemist. :-)