It’s been a while. I haven’t been on an awesome vacation. No jetsetting. I’ve been doing, well, stuff. Finishing things, mending things, cooking things. Beers with friends, knit nights, date nights with my husband. Laundry. Reading. I finished reading To Kill a Mockingbird. I’d never read it! It should have been required reading. I think in high school I was too busy being obsessed with the Beats. I missed a whole swath of literature because, man, Kerouac was so, you know, profound, man. Now I’m in that stage of reading where I’m floundering around with the beginning of Swann’s Way for like the umpteenth time. It always seems like a good idea until he starts going on about madelines for four thousand words. He and Melville need to form a club called “I have a real passion for weird things like cookies soaked in tea and/or whales”. Maybe not. That’s a pretty exclusive club.
Ok then. Moving right along. Things I have done recently: I had Korean BBQ for the first time and forgot to take pictures! We had a taco night at the house that was amazing and I forgot to take pictures! I went to the Girl and the Goat in Chicago and took, like two pictures. I ate a crème brûlée donut and forgot to take pictures. I have been drinking beer with friends, and didn’t take any pictures! I have been running like 4 times a week! No one wants pictures of that, not that I actually took any. Maybe you’re sensing a trend here. I do things and then don’t take pictures.
Lucky you, I did make soup and take some pictures. It isn’t just any soup, it is my favorite. I eat it all the time. This soup is for Monday nights when you ate too much over the weekend. It is for the doldrums of Wednesday. It is for a night when I refuse to actually plan a proper meal because I just want something hot in my belly. It, well, it is mostly for people that like tomato soup.
I will warn you, this is more complicated than opening a can of soup. BUT. This soup changed my life. I’m not even kidding! About 5 years ago I thought that all tomato soup came in cans. Interesting fact: IT DOESN’T. One day, I was just minding my own business when I ate tomato soup at one of those soup and sandwich places and it tasted different. Not like Campbell’s soup. Like … tomatoes and basil and just a little orange zest. For the first time in my life I ate something and thought, I could make that, and I could make it better. And I would eat it all the time. I promptly came home and found a recipe on the internet. Then I made it better and made it my own. The end.
So I say more complicated than a can of soup, but this can be as complex and complicated as you want, or as simple as you need. You need a pot, an onion, a few cloves of garlic, a can of tomatoes, and stock(and of course salt, pepper and probably some italian herbs). I use my own veggie stock because I am a snob. Hah! Honestly it’s because that’s what I usually have in the freezer. Then it’s really just chop, chop, smash, dump and walk away.
Unless you want a sandwich. Then don’t walk away. I happen to be pretty pro-sandwich. One of the only French phrases I still remember is “Je voudrais un sandwich.” Also I like saying sandwich. My go to is a grilled cheese, so clearly that is what I recommend.
A few notes about the recipe. Usually I find it’s not quite thick enough for my tastes. If you want to combat this without adding fat, just reduce your liquid or up your solids. If you’d like a little fat, mix up about 1 tablespoon of flour with about one tablespoon of butter (or oil) and whisk it in to your soup and let it cook an additional 4-5 minutes after pureeing it. If you taste it and find it’s missing a little je ne sais quoi, add a squeeze or two of lemon juice and toss in just a touch more salt. The tomatoes you use can be literally ANY KIND of canned tomatoes. The only kind I haven’t used is whole peeled tomatoes, though I suspect they would work. Honestly I just don’t use them because they come in honkin’ huge cans.
- 1 medium onion, in chunks
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
- 3 cups of stock
- 1 can(14.5 oz) tomatoes (usually I use italian diced tomatoes)
- 2 tsp. dried italian herbs
Heat up your soup pot with a little olive oil. Dump in your onion and garlic and let it cook for about a minute. Add stock, tomatoes and italian herbs. Let simmer until onions and garlic are very soft. Using a food processor (ok but please be careful, and also, possibly do this in batches), a blender (a little better, but still be careful) or an immersion blender (best), puree the everlovin’ crap out of that soup. Taste it. Add salt and pepper until you are happy. This is the point where you would thicken it, if you thought it was thin.