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Classic Tomato Soup

April 30, 2012

I know, I know, I was a terrible blogger last week.  Sorry!  I’m back and have some great posts planned for this week.  First up: classic tomato soup.

Tomato soup is a quintessential comfort food.  Last Sunday we had friends over for lunch and it was a cold, rainy and dreary day.  What better lunch than grilled cheese and tomato soup?  Forget the stuff from a can, this soup is the real deal and very easy to make.  If you have an immersion blender, this is a great time to use it.  For a completely vegetarian soup, swap in vegetable broth for the chicken broth.

While the weather is starting to warm up, we’ll still have several chilly days when a bright, warming bowl of tomato soup is the perfect meal.

Classic Tomato Soup
adapted from Fine Cooking
serves 4

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
one large yellow or white onion, chopped
one large garlic clove, smashed
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups chicken broth (preferably low sodium or homemade)
one 28 ounce can whole peeled plum tomatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
one sprig fresh thyme
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
crème fraîche, for garnish
fresh basil, finely chopped, for garnish
chives, finely chopped, for garnish

Purée the tomatoes, including juices, using an immersion blender or regular blender.  Set aside.  In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil and butter over medium-low heat until the butter melts.  Add the onion and garlic, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes or until the onions are soft.  Do not let them brown.  Add the flour, stir to coat and cook for a minute or two.

Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, sugar, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.  Raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently to make sure the flour isn’t burning or sticking to the bottom.  Reduce the heat to low, cover and let the soup simmer for 30-40 minutes.

Discard the thyme sprig.  Let the soup cool slightly then purée.  If you are using an immersion blender, transfer the soup to a large bowl and purée until smooth.  If you are using a traditional blender, you will need to let the soup cool more then purée in batches until smooth.  Rinse the pot and return the puréed soup to the pot.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.  Reheat over low heat and serve the soup warm but not too hot.

After ladling into bowls, top the soup with a spoonful of crème fraîche and a pinch of chopped basil and chives.

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