More comfort food today, and another cut-and-paste-and-rewrite from Everything2. I had to work today, which was a good thing as it kept me from spending the entire day stewing about my stupid good-but-not-great GRE score, and I came home too tired to do anything but wash (mmm, bath) and have tea and brownies (Peter’s way of reminding me that even stupid computer tests can’t stop deliciousness) and eat delicious tomato sandwiches for dinner. Appropriately enough, tonight I also finished reading The $64 Tomato by William Alexander, and the following recipe also prominently features tomato tastiness. Enjoy.
A long time ago when the world was young, Peter and I had a very silly disagreement about soup, and tomato soup in particular, and our opinions were so strong that they came close to becoming an actual argument. My vision of tomato soup, the soup I’d grown up with, is a tomato-based clearish broth with lots of vegetables floating in it, maybe little meatballs if I’m channelling my grandmother. His vision seemed to be Campbell’s soup from the can; he said my soups were really just watery stews. Since then, I’ve learned to make and enjoy thicker soups, even some creamy ones, as well as the minestrone and other “watery stews” which come intutitively to me, and which Peter has learned to be a good sport about. This soup was one of my first attempts to make a blended soup, inspired by his vision of the perfect accompaniment to a grilled cheese sandwich.
What You’ll Need (Equipment)
- 2 or 3-liter (quart is ok too, obviously) saucepan.
- something heatproof to stir with
- cutting board and knife for cleaning veggies
- blender (I use my blender on a stick, and it works great)
- 1 carrot
- 3 or 4 stalks of celery
- 1 onion
- olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper (optional but very nice)
- mixed Italian seasoning (blended dried oregano, sage, parsley, basil, rosemary, thyme, and others — you know, green)
- vegetable stock or water
- 2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes (or a 28-ouncer, or 5-7 cups chopped fresh tomatoes if you’ve got them to spare)
- 3 or 4 or maybe 5 cloves of garlic
What you do
Make a mirepoix by chopping carrots and onion, and sautéing them in 2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Chop the celery and add it to the sautéing veggies. If you’re using a red pepper, give it a dice and add it in as well.
When the veggies start getting soft (the onion will start to become translucent and smell sweetly pungent… mmm), add a pinch or two of salt and grind in some pepper (a few shakes of pre-powdered pepper is ok too, but I’m a fresh-ground pepper junkie, myself). Let the mixture simmer another minute or two (don’t forget to stir).
Shake in some Italian seasoning. Stir. When everything’s going to mush, add a few tablespoons of vegetable stock or water. Stir. (Note: the more vegetable stock or water used, the more soup you get, especially if you let the veggies cook in the water for a long time, thereby making a quick simulation of vegetable stock as you go along. But be reasonable; one onion, a few carrots, and some celery are not going to make more than a quart/liter or two of stock unless you want to cook them for a REALLY long time.)
Turn off the burner under the pot and take it off the heat. When you feel safe doing so (don’t burn yourself!) pour the pot’s contents into the blender (or insert the stick blender). Moosh the veggies and broth up till they’re all one consistency.
Return the veggie moosh to the soup pot; realize you’ve forgotten to use any garlic. Turn the stove under the pot to low heat.
Clean and peel several cloves of garlic; put these in the blender, with the cans of tomatoes. Blend everything till it’s a uniform consistency; stir into the soup.
Add more stock or water to thin out the soup if it seems necessary; turn the heat up to medium and let everything cook together for at least five to ten minutes.
Makes AT LEAST 1 very full 2-liter saucepan of soup; you should probably use a 3-liter pot to be on the safe side. This translates into at least 3 or 4 meal-size servings that go well with cheese quesadillas and crackers, but grilled cheese sandwiches would be great, too.