Saturday, February 13, 2010

Weekend Cooking: Cream of Tomato Soup

As much as I j'adore my crockpot, there are times when one needs to cook a pot of soup on the stove, to stir, to sprinkle and swirl in spices.

And there are times, during weeks like these, when a snow day (or two, or three) pile up like drifts, necessitating the need for that quintessential snowbound lunch.

Which would be, of course, none other than a bowl of tomato soup and grilled cheese. I hadn't planned ahead and made anything in the crockpot, so I turned to one of my favorite recipes in one of my favorite cookbooks.

Seriously, no kitchen (vegetarian or otherwise) should be without Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. I have been a fan of her cooking for awhile and this cookbook (oh, my word, just discovered Deborah has a website with a blog ... swoon ...) is a treasure trove of easy, simple, but oh-so-delicious vegetarian recipes. It's a great resource for those looking for easy to prepare veggie meals, but also as a primer for those who have a vegetarian friend or relative dining at your table.

Ah, yes, there it was ... Deborah's recipe for Cream of Tomato Soup. (As you can see, I write notes in my cookbooks with the date I made the dish, any modifications or tweaks, and of course, what we thought.)

Got out the ingredients, most of which are probably already staples in your pantry (or if not, they certainly should be): (Yes, on this Valentine's Day weekend, the Christmas snowman cookie jar is still on my countertop.)

2.5 tbsps of butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1.5 tsps dried basil, crumbled
pinch ground cloves
2 tbsps flour
2 15 oz. cans diced tomatoes in puree
pinch baking soda
2.5 cups Basic Vegetable Stock or water
1.5 cups milk, as needed
salt and freshly milled pepper
tomato paste, if needed

My modifications were to omit the celery (hate celery), to use a 32 oz. can of crushed tomatoes in puree, and to use vegetable broth. I needed all the milk (2%) and didn't need the tomato paste.

Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, basil and cloves; cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is limp, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the flour, then add the tomatoes, baking soda, and stock; bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes.

(I had to take a peek ...)

Let cool briefly, then puree in a blender until smooth. (Because I used crushed tomatoes with puree, this step wasn't necessary. But when I've made this with diced tomatoes, it is.)

Return the soup to the pot, add the milk, and season with salt. If the soup is too thick, thin it with additional milk or stock. If the tomato flavor isn't as rich as you'd like (if the tomatoes were packed in water instead of puree), deepen it by stirring in a little tomato paste. Reheat and serve piping hot with pepper ground into each bowl.

Deborah's notes from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone: An American classic that's made with canned tomatoes. Use one of the good organic brands such as Muir Glen. This quick soup makes a fine pairing with a grilled cheese sandwich or crisp romaine salad.

I served this with grilled mozzerella and provolone cheese sandwiches.

Serves 4. (I would imagine this could be easily doubled. Also, I have a small one-serving size container of this in my freezer, as it freezes well.)

Weeking Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

photos copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles).


Beth F said...

Two things: Yes, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone is a must-have cookbook. Mine is falling apart. And what??? She has a blog??? OMG. Thanks for this, I don't know why I never thought to look.

That tomato soups sounds fabulous and I pretty much always have the ingredients on hand. What is better on a snowy winter's day than grilled cheese and tomato soup?

bermudaonion said...

I love tomato soup and that looks delicious on this cold winter day! Thanks for the recipe.

caite said...

I love tomatoes in every form...except cream of tomato soup. I can not stomach it...pun intended.

I think it might be due to some unremembered childhood incident with the Campbells variety.

JoAnn said...

I make all sorts of notes in my cookbooks, too! The soup sounds delicious, and you are clearly much better at 'food photography' than I am ;-)

Esme said...

I love tomato soup-You are like me, making notes in your cookbook.

Here is my entry: (Italian Mushroom Pockets)