Sunday, November 6, 2011

Provencal Tomato Soup

At the farmers market two weeks ago...
Me:  Oooh look, tomatoes.  I'm going to make tomato soup this week.
(Rushing over to the tomatoes and filling up two bags.)

John:  You know I don't like tomato soup, right?
Me:    (Holding two pounds of tomatoes.)  Come again? 

I didn't know tomato soup was something people didn't like.  I always thought tomato soup was a universal truth.

Everyone eats Campbell's tomato soup as a kid for weekend lunches, preferably with saltines.  They progress to cream-laden tomato soups, which admittedly are a step-up from the Warhol period, but still aren't tomato soups at their best.

We're grownups here, folks, and it's time for real tomato soup.  Either fresh tomatoes or canned work well in this recipe - just make sure they are good ones either way.  Instead of cream, the soup is flavored with basil sprigs and a Parmesan rind (both removed before pureeing).  To thicken the soup, rice, tapioca, or quinoa can be used.

I went with quinoa because I'm a rebel.  This is grownup tomato soup after all.

I was too lazy to make grilled cheese to go with this hearty soup, but I made do with a thick layer of Parmesan on top and a baguette to dip deep into the bowl.

John made do with room service, since he was out of town when I made it.  Lucky guy got to avoid the horror of tomato soup.

I've always loved tomato soup, and homemade is best.  This rustic recipe is a great way to use the last of this year's tomato crop.  I highly recommend you make this soup when your tomato soup-hating roommate is out of town.  It's not to be missed.

Provencal Tomato Soup
From the NY Times

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt, to taste
2 pounds tomatoes, cored and diced (or one 28 oz. can chopped tomatoes with juice)
Pinch of sugar
2 large sprigs basil (or 14 leaves)
1 quart (4 cups) water
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 Parmesan rind (optional)
1/2 cup quinoa, rice, or tapioca
Parmesan, grated, for garnish

Heat olive oil in medium Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add onion and cook until tender, stirring often, about 5 minutes.  Stir in half the minced garlic and a big pinch of kosher salt.  Cook for 30 seconds to one minute, until the garlic is fragrant.  Add the tomatoes, basil sprigs (whole), the other half of the garlic, and sugar.  Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring often, until the tomatoes cook down a bit.

Add a quart of water to the pot, the Parmesan rind, and a pinch of salt.  Bring to a simmer, cover, and reduce the heat to low.  Simmer for 15 minutes.  Add the quinoa, rice, or tapioca and cook another 15 minutes until the grain is tender and the soup is fragrant.  Remove the basil sprigs and Parmesan rind.  Puree in small batches in a blender or with an immersion blender.  If you used fresh unpeeled tomatoes and you want a silkier soup, push the soup through a mesh strainer.  (I didn't bother)  Taste the soup and adjust salt and pepper.  Serve garnished with Parmesan and basil.

1 comment:

  1. Your recipes always look so good! I am not much of a cook, but my husband is a wonderful cook! I am going to send him a link to your blog. He would love it. Thanks!


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