We recently had this little get together at the store where I wanted to serve pure comfort food. What could be more comforting than homemade tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich?
I combed the internet for the perfect tomato soup recipe (even tried several) but none of them were quite right.
Just as I was thinking I'd have to switch to chicken noodle I found this one. I modified it slightly and even made some important discoveries and changes along the way. After making five huge pots of the stuff I consider myself somewhat of an expert.
This just possibly could be the perfect tomato soup. It's fast (can be completed in about forty minutes start to finish), it's nutritious (although, ahem, fattening) and most importantly, with the help of heavy cream is oh. so. comforting. It's simple enough for a quick family dinner and add a little sherry, it's elegant enough for the first course at a fancy dinner party. Pretty much perfect!
When two dyed-in-the-wool tomato soup haters asked for the recipe I knew we had a winner. This tastes nothing like that yucky stuff from the can. Try it. You'll thank me... or considering the calories...not.
Here are our cast of characters
and the important star of this production
Here's how I made it:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 whole medium onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic finely diced
46 ounces tomato juice
28 ounces diced tomatoes - preferably Marzano
1 to 3 tablespoons Better Than Bouillon LOW SODIUM chicken base* - I used 2 and a half tablespoons
3 to 6 tablespoons sugar - I used 4
Lots of freshly ground pepper
1 cup of cooking sherry* (optional)
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/8 cup freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley or to taste
1/8 cup freshly chopped basil or to taste
1/2 cup Orzo pasta (optional) - boil in salted water for 7 minutes then drain and add to the soup. It will finish cooking once in the soup
Saute diced onion over medium heat in unsalted butter until translucent - about ten to fifteen minutes. Add garlic and continue to cook about two minutes. Do not allow to brown.
Add canned tomatoes, tomato juice, sugar, black pepper and chicken base. You will want to taste as you go because too much chicken base can cause the soup to be too salty. I urge you to find the low sodium version of base and buy the Better Than Bouillon brand if possible. I found it at Vons.The chicken base gives this soup its wonderful flavor and using the low sodium kind allows you to add flavor without making it too salty. I made one batch with another brand of chicken base and there is a big difference!
Add the sherry and cream. Stir to blend. *The sherry is optional and adds a wonderful depth of flavor. Since our guests were working with sharp objects, I left the sherry out of their soup. Add the parsley, basil and *cooked orzo. (The pasta adds a nice texture and extends the recipe some).
Adjust seasoning (sugar, pepper and chicken base). Serve piping hot with grilled cheese then stand back and watch your bottom spread.
It's so good you won't even care!
Encourage one another,