Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tomato Soup

Growing up, I can't think of a time when I didn't like tomato soup. One of the first soups I tried to give D. when he was a toddler was Alphabet Tomato Soup. I'm still bummed that he won't eat it anymore and keep thinking I'll try to reintroduce it. The recipe uses pureed alphabet pasta to thicken the soup, which, come to think of it was what got D. eating pasta. One of his favourite meals to this day is a bowl of alphabet pasta drowned in V8. I'm sure that when he is grown up and living on his own, one of his comfort foods will be alphabet pasta with V8.

Monday night I decided to make tomato soup, which isn't a soup I have attempted before, and I've attempted many. The recipe I used is from The America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook, cited before on this very blog. At first I thought this soup was going to be very fussy to make, since it calls for seeding whole, canned tomatoes. But I actually enjoyed this step. After a long day at work, it was somehow calming to focus on seeding tomatoes. My husband bought me some fancy, high falutin' imported Italian tomatoes for my soup-making adventure. As far as tomatoes go, they were lovely, and fairly cooperative at being seeded.

Once seeded, I sprinkled brown sugar over my tomatoes and roasted them in the oven. While they roasted, I prepared the rest of the ingredients which were fairly simple: butter, shallots, flour, chicken broth, tomato paste and milk, since I forgot to get cream. The roasted tomatoes (and reserved juice) are combined with all the other stuff then heated with the milk to make smooth, silky tomato soup goodness.

I actually found this soup tasted better the second day. It was so nice to be able to taste the tomato in my soup, which often isn't the case with the canned variety. Although I have downed many a can of Campbell's Cream of Tomato in my day. I even have my old soup bowl kicking around in the cupboard, which pretty much sums up how my homemade tomato soup turned out:

Because the soup I made is a Cook's Illustrated recipe, and not freely available on the Internet, here instead is the recipe for Tomato Alphabet Soup (from Cooking Light) which I can also vouch for as a wonderful, homey tomato soup.

Tomato Alphabet Soup

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrot
1/3 cup chopped celery
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cups cooked alphabet pasta (about 1 cup uncooked pasta), divided
1 cup 2% reduced-fat milk

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery; sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add broth, basil, pepper, and tomatoes, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 15 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup pasta. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes.

Place half of tomato mixture in a blender, and process until smooth. Pour puréed soup into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining tomato mixture. Return puréed soup to pan; stir in remaining pasta and milk. Cook over medium-high heat 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently (do not boil).

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