Tomato Soup for Tomato Haters
I have one child who cannot stand tomatoes. I mean, she gags at the sight of them. There was only one time I remember her putting a tomato in her mouth at the dinner table – and that was only because it came from our garden, and she really wanted to be a part of the whole harvesting moment. That tomato came right out of her mouth, almost instantaneously. She just can’t do it. (The other, younger sister can’t get enough of them, never has been able to. She and I always – and I mean always – have a stash of cherry tomatoes on the vine, ready for snacks.)
The funny thing is, my tomato-hater really loves a good tomato soup. Who knew? So this time of year, with a little chill in the air, tomato basil soup is one of our easy and beloved go-tos. It’s not creamy like you’d find at a lot of restaurants, but that’s a good thing, because we can feel fairly virtuous eating a lot of it. We make it dinner by adding really yummy cheese toasts, which get very simply, but very effectively, elevated by a scrape of garlic on the toast.
Tomato basil soup and cheese toasts. Even for a tomato-phobe, it’s the perfect easy dinner for a chilly night.
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 bay leaf
1½ teaspoons salt, divided
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
10 large basil leaves, plus extra for garnish
2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
¾ teaspoon black pepper
Sour cream for garnish, optional
Soup recipe directions:
Heat the butter and oil in a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, bay leaf and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often, or until the onion is translucent and the carrots have softened. Add the garlic and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste and basil leaves, and stir to coat the veggies with the tomato paste. Cook another 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes (with juices), chicken broth, black pepper and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for another 30 minutes. Taste and add a little more salt and pepper if you’d like (we like extra fresh-ground pepper in ours). Remove the bay leaf, and, using an immersion blender, puree the soup (alternatively, transfer the soup to a blender and puree until it’s creamy). Garnish with a couple of basil leaves and a dollop of sour cream for anyone who likes it, and serve with cheese toasts.
Cheese Toast ingredients:
4 slices bread (you can really use whatever bread you’ve got in the house)
1 clove garlic, halved
Grated cheddar cheese
Cheese Toast directions:
Lay the bread slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Brush each side with a little olive oil. Broil for 1 minute or so, until the bread is toasty. Flip the slices and return to the broiler for another minute. Rub the tops of the bread slices with the cut sides of the garlic, and top with cheese. Return the cheese toast to the broiler and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and just turning brown. Watch it closely so that it doesn’t burn. Cut off the crusts – or not – and cut the toasts into triangles or rectangles, whatever shape looks like the most fun to dip into the soup!
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