Do you remember my mentioning my sister is the soup-maker of the family? She still is (as was my mother), but once in a while, I do make some myself. Not often, though. It really surprised me to see 13 soups listed in my blog recipes. While so many people love a cup of soup for lunch....my sister has one every day....it never seems to satisfy me. Perhaps if someone else was making it for me? :) Perhaps I find it bothersome making a pot just for one? Although most soups do freeze beautifully. But even years ago, in Michigan, I didn't make all that many soups for my family; the kids ate lunch at school and everyone wanted something more substantial for dinner.
Tomato soup was a favorite of my father's but it's one soup I never remember my mother making from scratch; it was always a can of Campbell's tomato. (He also loved Mulligatawny.... one of the original 31 Campbell soups. It was discontinued in the 30's, but I remember him talking about it. Perhaps he thought the name was fun, he was like that....or perhaps he actually liked it so much my mother made it from scratch after it was discontinued. I just don't recall. And Pepper Pot was high on his soup list too, which is more difficult to find these days, but Campbells's does still make it.)
Anyway, I had a craving for tomato soup recently. There are endless recipes to choose from but I turned first to Ina Garten. Ina has several versions but I liked the sound of this particular one and it turned out to be a good choice. It was satisfying, flavorful and not one of those soups that takes 5 hours of simmering.
(I'm sure you'll notice the cheesy bacon bread sticking out of it....I'll have the recipe for that coming up soon.)
Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup
From Ina Garten's "Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics"
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped red onions (2 onions)
2 carrots, unpeeled and chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
4 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, coarsely chopped (5 large)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup packed chopped fresh basil leaves, plus julienned basil leaves, for garnish
3 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream
Croutons, for garnish
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and carrots and saute for about 10 minutes, until very tender. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, sugar, tomato paste, basil, chicken stock, salt, and pepper and stir well. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes, until the tomatoes are very tender.
Add the cream to the soup and process it through a food mill into a bowl, discarding only the dry pulp that's left. Reheat the soup over low heat just until hot and serve with basil leaves and/or croutons.