It’s a sick day for me, which means that I’m bored. Sick days remind me that I really do like my job, no matter how much I complain about it all day every day. Right now, I feel like a prisoner in my house, forced to watch terrible TV shows while feeling simultaneously too hot and too cold. Torture. So, I’m taking the day into my own hands, and choosing to post recipes online. Let’s see how this goes.
The other day, I made tomato soup for dinner. I didn’t love tomato soup until I went to college and tried the tomato soup at the Tombs. It was heavenly! It was so creamy, with such a complex flavor that was very much unlike anything that comes in a can. Since I don’t think I will be moving back to DC (sadly), I either have to find a good version around Boston, or make it myself. So, I made it myself.
I decided, as per usual, to make things up as I went along. Things seemed to be going well, but unfortunately, at the end of cooking, the soup was missing something. It didn’t taste tomato-ey enough. I’m sure that’s because of all the other vegetables that went into the soup with a relative lack of tomatoes. I added some tomato paste, which solved the problem. I am telling you this because I think that the tomato paste could probably be added earlier in process. I will write the recipe out as I made it, though, and you can decide what to do for yourself.
Also, since we don’t have any heavy cream (or even whole milk) here, I added 1% milk at the end. It doesn’t really give the soup a very creamy taste, so I served it with a dollop of sour cream, and then we mixed it in. The end product was a just creamy enough soup. Yum.
Makes 4 bowls of soup
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 carrots, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 oz can of whole peeled tomatoes (San Marzano taste the best)
1 cup water
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper
In a medium-sized pot, heat the olive oil and butter on medium heat until the butter is melted. Add the carrots, onion, celery, and bay leaf, and a pinch of salt and pepper, and stir. Cook on medium for about 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent and the vegetables begin to soften.
Add the garlic and the tomatoes, including juices. Use your spoon to break up the tomatoes as best you can.
Add the water and basil. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover, cooking for about 50 minutes.
Add the tomato paste. Remove the bay leaf. Turn off the heat. If you have an immersion blender, use it to blend the soup. If you don’t have an immersion blender, wait for the soup to cool a little bit, then transfer it in batches to a regular blender to blend. Be careful that you don’t burn yourself!
Return the soup to the pot and stir in the milk (you can substitute with heavy cream, but use less–about 1/4 cup). Taste the soup, and add salt and pepper as needed.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream on top, if desired. This would be great with a grilled cheese, or parmesan crisps if you want to get fancy.
Possible substitutions, omissions, and additions:
- Use cream instead of milk (but use less)
- Use different herbs, like thyme, instead of basil. Or, use fresh basil, which I would have done if I had it
- Add the tomato paste with the whole tomatoes
- If preparing ahead, do not add milk. The soup can be frozen, and then milk can be added when reheating.