Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tomato Soup

In my memories tomato soup is as good as the old Campbell's soup commercials imply. Fragrant, creamy, soul-warming, nourishing yet decadent with a diagonally-cut grilled cheese sandwich to dip in a brimming hot mug. As good as grandma's lightly floury hugs, filling but not so much as to not have room for her fresh baked cookies.

It is another simple comfort food that became verboten for too long. Canned soups are full of corn syrup, boxed soups have cream or enough salt to pucker your face off, or worse taste like liquid cardboard. None of which evoke nostalgia or fulfill a craving. Then a couple years ago I stumbled onto a recipe. At the same time I bought my first immersion blender. Over the winter making the recipe mine involved changing proportions, deleting some ingredients and mugs upon mugs of soup.

This recipe is fairly forgiving, if you have two leeks and only half an onion, go ahead and make the soup. Craving garlic, add a bit more. Change up the peppers for roasted and add a dash of cilantro. Have yellow or orange bell peppers moldering in the crisper? Chop'em up and toss them in the pot.

Make a pot after work while enjoying a glass of the white wine or make it on a weekend while enjoying a couple glasses. This soup freezes very well making it as convenient as the old canned stuff.

Tomato Soup

2-3 tablespoons of olive oil

1 leek (chopped)

1 yellow onion (chopped)

2 garlic cloves (chopped)

2 stalks of celery (chopped)

1 red bell pepper (chopped)

3-4 oz white wine, usually a sauvignon blanc

1 15oz can of pumpkin

1 tablespoon of basil (chopped) (or a palm of dried)

1 tablespoon of parsley (chopped) (or a palm of dried)

1 15oz can of diced tomato

1 small can of tomato paste

1 dash white pepper

4 cups of chicken broth, or veggie broth for a vegetarian option

Large pinch of kosher salt

Warm the olive oil in a dutch oven or soup pot. Add the chopped leaks, onion, celery, garlic and bell pepper.

Sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the white wine and simmer.

Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, pumpkin, broth, and seasonings. Simmer for about 30 minutes.

Purée with the immersion blender in the pot or transfer in batches to the blender. Let me know if what memories it evokes for you.

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