Classic Tomato Soup
When the weather outside looks like this, there’s only one sensible thing to do: make a big steaming pot of homemade soup. Or, if you’re a really good sport, you could go sledding…but once you come inside, you should definitely treat yourself to a bowl of this old-fashioned tomato soup. It’ll warm your soul, and might even make you grateful for the snow.
If you want to make your life really easy, use a hand-held immersion blender to puree this soup. If you don’t have one, you can use a standard blender, but definitely consider putting one on your holiday wish list – it’s one of the few kitchen tools that I absolutely can’t live without.
One more tip: When you’re not using fresh tomatoes, try the Pomi brand of boxed tomatoes. They’re all natural and don’t contain citric acid like the canned variety; they also don’t need to cook as long. You might be able to find them at your regular grocery store (mine carries them in a hard-to-find spot near the canned tomatoes) or you can always find them at Whole Foods.
Enjoy this classic tomato soup with a crusty loaf or grilled cheese sandwich. Mmmm, mmmm good!
Classic Tomato Soup
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups chicken broth
2 26-ounce boxes Pomi chopped tomatoes (about 6 1/2 cups)*
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
For Garnish (any one or combination)
Freshly chopped basil
Seasoned croutons (I buy them pre-made from the bakery at Whole Foods)
Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1. In a large nonreactive pot**, heat the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat. When butter is melted, add the onions and cook over medium-low/medium heat, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent. Do not brown. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes more, stirring to be sure garlic does not burn. Add the flour and continue cooking and stirring for 1-2 minutes more.
2. Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, sugar, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat while stirring to make sure that the flour is not sticking to the bottom or sides of the pan. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.
3. Use a hand-held immersion blender to puree soup until very smooth. Alternatively, let the soup cool slightly and puree in batches in a blender. Be sure to crack the lid or remove the center cap to allow steam to escape. Rinse the pot and return the soup to pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper (it depends on the chicken broth you use, but I usually end up adding about a teaspoon more salt and several grinds of pepper). Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with fresh basil, croutons, and a generous sprinkling of Parmigiano Regiano if desired.
*If you can’t find boxed tomatoes, use canned. Just be sure to cook the soup a little longer, about 40 minutes.
**A nonreactive pot is made of a material that will not negatively react with acids. Glass, stainless steel or enameled pots are all safe to use. Nonstick pots are also okay but be sure there are no scratches in the non-stick coating.