Friday, April 30, 2010

Creamless Creamy Tomato Soup

I am always on the look out for good tomato soup recipes and this one has been my favorite so far. I like to double the recipe and store it in the freezer for when I need a quick meal. 

Creamless Creamy Tomato Soup

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 pinch hot red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
 2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes in juice
 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
 3 large slices good-quality white sandwich bread, crusts removed, torn into 1-inch pieces
 2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth, to make it vegetarian)
 2 Tablespoons brandy (optional)
 Salt and pepper to taste
 ¼ cup chopped fresh chives

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering.

Add onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, and bay leaf. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes and their juice. Using a potato masher, mash until no pieces bigger than 2 inches remain.

Stir in sugar and bread; bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until bread is completely saturated and starts to break down, about 5 minutes. Remove bay leaf and discard (don’t forget this step!)

Transfer half of soup to a blender, add 1tablespoon olive oil and process until soup is smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes (See notes). Transfer to a large bowl and repeat with remaining soup and oil. (Or use an immersion blender)

Rinse out Dutch oven and return soup to pot. Stir in chicken broth and brandy (optional). Return soup to a boil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle each portion with pepper and chives or basil and drizzle with olive oil.  Serve (of course) with grilled cheese sandwiches.

Be extra careful when putting hot liquids in the blender.  Never fill past 2/3 of the way full, and put a dish towel over the top just in case to protect your hands from getting burned by any hot liquid splashing up.

Recipe source: America's Test Kitchen

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